One of my weekend shows that I sometimes watch is “Life After People” on the History Channel. The premise is basically if humans disappeared today, how long would it take for human-made things to break down.
Today I saw an episode that used my great grandmother’s hometown as an example. In the 1960’s a fire started underground and made its way into the abandoned coal mines in Centralia. In the 1980’s most of the residents left in the town were relocated, and the fire still burns. According to Wikipedia, there were still 9 people living in Centralia in 2007. Here’s a Google search if you’d like to read more.
Life After People used Centralia as an example of how a town would look twenty-five years after people. I don’t think it was the best example, since most of the building were torn down after the people relocated. But, it was interesting none the less.
My great grandmother Sophia Levens left Centralia for Philadelphia before the turn of the century, long before the fire broke out. (That would be the turn from the 19th to the 20th) Some of her siblings remained in the area of Centralia, where her father had been a coal miner.
Here is a link to the Centralia section of the episode: Centralia on Life After People (no longer available)