7 Ghost Towns in PA You Can Still Visit

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Thanks to Pennsylvania’s long industrial history, the state is filled with communities that have come and gone throughout the years. While many of these ghost towns in PA have completely disappeared, a few still exist in the woods and along the roadways of the state.

While there are plenty of abandoned places in PA, these ghost towns take it to another level with many interesting spots to explore.

Here are a few of my favorite Pennsylvania ghost towns and a bit of the history behind them.

Centralia

Buckled sidewalk in the PA ghost town of Centralia.
Sidewalks and roadways lead nowhere in Centralia, PA.

There is probably no ghost town in PA that’s more famous than Centralia.

Located in Columbia County in the state’s northeastern corner, Centralia was a bustling coal mining community until the coal seam below the borough caught on fire in 1962. Within a few decades, Centralia was nearly abandoned, though a few hearty souls still live there.

While nearly all of the community has been torn down, it’s still interesting to drive the city streets and see the curbs, sidewalks, and stairwells that lead nowhere, as well as the damage caused by the fire at places like Graffiti Highway.

Pithole

A sign for Pithole, one of the ghost towns in PA
Overlooking the field where Pithole, Pennsylvania, once existed.

The community of Pithole (Charming name, huh?) was founded during the oil boom in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Pithole was laid out in May 1865 after oil was discovered nearby. Land speculators and would-be oil barons quickly scooped up the land and a town as built around them. By December 1865, 20,000 people called Pithole, PA home.

At its peak, Pithole featured more than 50 hotels, three churches, the world’s first oil pipeline, a newspaper, a theater, and a railroad. Pithole became known as a rough and tumble town reminiscent of the communities of the Wild West.

Historic photo of the Pennsylvania ghost town of Pithole
A historic photo of Pithole. (Public Domain)

Pithole’s history was shortlived, however. As the oil boom began to wain, banks collapsed, and a fire hit the community, Pithole’s population quickly collapsed with only 2,000 residents in the community by December 1866. By the census of 1870, less than 250 people lived in Pithole.

Today, Pithole is just an empty field near Oil Creek State Park. A visitor center is located at the corner of town which offers a fascinating look at this short-lived community. The old streets of Pithole are regularly mowed, allowing visitors to move through this ghost town.

Scotia

PA Ghost town of Scotia ruins in the woods
The ruins of Scotia can be found hidden away on state game lands near State College.

Located near State College, Scotia was once a mining community that supported both the nearby iron industry and, later, Carnegie Steel operations.

Today, the land that was once Scotia has been reclaimed by nature and is now part of State Game Lands 176 in Centre County.

While much of this Pennsylvania ghost town has disappeared, there are still remnants if you know where to look for them. The largest still-remaining area consists of several concrete buildings that once served the mining operations, as well as the old railroad grade.

If you walk through the forested trails of the Scotia Barrens, you might even find more hidden ruins of this ghost town.

Rausch Gap

Rausch Gap is another abandoned Pennsylvania town that got its start as a coal mining community.

Located in Lebanon County near the Appalachian Trail, Rausch Gap was formed in 1828. The community flourished, growing to as many as 1,000 residents, but was gone by 1910.

Today, the ruins of the community can be found in St. Anthony’s Wilderness along a great rail trail.

There isn’t much left of Rausch Gap, though there are a few building foundations that can be found as well as a cemetery.

Yellow Dog Village

Homes in the ghost town of Yellow Dog Village near Kittanning, Pennsylvania
Yellow Dog Village is a ghost town in western PA.

Of all the places on this list, Yellow Dog Village might be the most like what you think of when you think of ghost towns.

Yellow Dog Village was constructed in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, in the first decades of the 20th century to support the mines that were right outside of town.

Even as the mines closed, the community continued until it finally became abandoned in the early 2000s.

Home in Yellow Dog Village surrounded by underbrush
A decaying home in Yellow Dog Village.

Today, the town’s owner is doing his best to maintain the site and turn it into a historic village, and a few people do live in the community. However, many of the buildings are continuing to fall into decay as the years’ pass.

(Note that permission is needed before exploring Yellow Dog Village. Do not trespass otherwise.)

Petroleum Centre

Petroleum Center Self-Guide Trail in Oil Creek State Park, Pennsylvania
The Petroleum Center bank’s steps are the only remnant of what was once a bustling oil boom town.

Petroleum Centre is another oil-boom community that once thrived in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Petroleum Centre was founded in 1866 and was once home to as many as 3,000 people. The community even hosted President Ulysses S. Grant in 1871. However, by 1873, the town was essentially abandoned.

Today the land where Petroleum Centre once sat is now part of Oil Creek State Park. The park has created a walking tour around the former center of town that showcases the history of the area.

Sadly, the community has been almost completely lost with only the old bank steps still visible from the road.

Concrete City

Concrete City in Nanticoke Pennsylvania
One of more than a dozen abandoned homes in Concrete City.

Concrete City is an abandoned town in PA’s Luzerne County. It was constructed in the early 20th century as company housing for the DL&W Railroad.

There were a total of 20 duplexes in the community, so 40 carefully selected workers were chosen to move into the homes with their families. In 1924, an attempt was made to demolish the community, but the strong construction made this difficult enough that it was never done.

Today, Concrete City sits abandoned and regularly draws in locals and visitors alike. While I’m unsure of the legality of visiting the site, I do know that people regularly do visit. Proceed at your own caution if you opt to check out this site.

Do you have a favorite Pennsylvania ghost town that we didn’t include on this list? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for more abandoned places to visit? Check out Eastern State Penitentiary in Philly, Carrie Furnace in Pittsburgh, and the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike in Central PA.

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59 thoughts on “7 Ghost Towns in PA You Can Still Visit”

      • Laquin on Barcley Mountain in Bradford County is abandoned and use to be a booming logging community there’s a cemetery thats supposedly haunted by the people that died there from the plague.

      • I use to go to ghost town on a picnic and on rides. I don’t know where in PA. If remember right we went swing too, I think. We lived in the poconos

    • I’m from Luzerne County. There are many haunted houses in the area. A person can sense the distress when one walks into an empty old house. Coal mining was a tough life

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  1. In Saint Anthony’s Wilderness you can also find foundations and cellar holes in Rattling Run on the old stagecoach road accessible from the rail trail via an old incline or from the Appalachian trail, inside state game lands (the same as Rausch Gap).

    Another town in the same game lands is Yellow Springs, a small mining town near the mountain top.

    At Rausch Gap there are cellar holes near the rail trail on the uphill side you can find by following the old road bed that goes past the stream mitigation project upstream from the rail trail bridge and you can find the foundations of a railroad engine repair shed. Following a path that goes downhill by the creek you can pass flat stone foundations for the buildings from a farm including the well and by going further you reach the old cemetery.

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  2. Two villages in Centre County is Poe Patty a lumbering community, on Penns Creek in Seven Mountains, which is now a state park. There are no buildings there. Also Orvistan which I believe was once a lumbering community as well. There are buildings and some families. It’s my understanding most of the houses became hunting lodges.

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  3. Masten, Pa. Along Pleasant stream. Site of a small logging town, saw mill and CCC camp. One terminus of the Old loggers path

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    • Harry, is there a boy scout camp on the other side of the stream? Also, are there several small stone markers where the residence lived? Thanks for your help.

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  4. Onnalinda in Pennsylvania is an old coal mining town. Above Beaverdale PA. Houses all gone except 3 and the three houses have families living in them whom are relatives.This town is in Cambria County.

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    • My dad grew up in Onalinda and Beaverdale. He was born in Saint Michael in 1917. Graduated from Adams High School. (Forest Hills)

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  5. Barclay, in Bradford County, was a coal mining community in the late 1800s. My great great grandparents lived there after arriving from England. I think there is an old cemetery there.

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    • Worked many times around Barclay reclaiming the mine lands… The cemetery is creepy, graves that were swallowed by the mine cave-ins… Many old foundations throughout the woods…

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  6. What was once known as the town of Alvira PA, is now known as State Game Lands number 252. During WWII the land was seized by the army and used as an army ordnance.

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      • Jim Cheney, I beg to differ about you saying there isn’t anything of the Town left in Alvira, PA. I live within miles of there still, as I also grew up within miles from there. I have walked that area many times. Walked the Cemeteries. Been inside the bunkers. They also have at least one day a year, where they open it up for complete tours.

        There are also still some foundations there. Even a Church called The Stone Church is still standing and throughout the year, hold special occasions where you can go inside. The Stone Church is located in the center of the White Deer Valley, and was a focal point for the communities at that time. It, six cemeteries and not sure how many bunkers are all that is left of Alvira and the ordnance. The round bunkers alone are something to see as some of them are opened and you can walk inside. You can yell inside and the echo is something else.

        Anybody who hasn’t visited this lost Town, is missing out.

        God Bless!

    • They forced out the residents,my great grandmother had a good sized chicken farm there .where my grandmother grew up.cemetery is definitely haunted.

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  7. I lived in PA most of my early years and some of my adult life, never heard about the ghost towns. I find them intriguing as I went to a few out west. I always wondered why the people left and and what their lives were like in their heyday.
    Thank you for sharing them. Keep up the great work.

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  8. In the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s Concrete City was used for enclosed space fire training for the local fire companies. I think the County owned it then but I don’t about now.

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  9. I don’t know if this is considered a ghost town, but there was once a village at Hickory Run State Park. There is still a chapel and a cemetery. It was wiped out by a flood, many of the villagers were killed in the flood and it was eventually abandoned.

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  10. Another ghost town is Fricks Lock in Chester County. They forced everyone to move out of their homes so they could build the limerick power plant.

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  11. Warnertown in NE Pa. It was a logging town as well as an ice farming town that supplied ice to hospals along the east coast. Now part of Tobyhanna state part, it was used for Army artilery training from WW1 through WW2. The area just went through a major clean up because unexploded ordinance was found there.

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  12. McIntyre was an old mining town in the late 1800s. There are some old foundations and a cemetery. Located in McIntyre Township near Ralston, PA

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  13. There was one by allenwood pa it’s now the state game lands the us government came in and took the land from them in ww2 to make TNT the bunkers you can still go it’s right by where the allenwood federal prison is i have heard there is still buildings ba k there but have not seen anything YET!!!!

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      • There are definitely foundations, steps, the Stone Church, and 2 cemeteries left from Alvira.

        One foundation is octagonal, it was probably a silo. Some are easily seen from the SGL roads that you can walk or bike along.

  14. Peale near winburne, pa is a cool spot I used to hunt in. You can still find the original maps online and many foundations survived. I haven’t been there in some time so I’m not sure if anyone ever cleared it for new construction.

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  15. Helvetia was a small coal mining and power plant company town in Clearfield County. The mine coal seam declined and the power company closed the plant in about 1952. There is still a small church and remains of the company store. My father worked in the power plant and we lived in a company house.

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  16. I was thrilled to see Pithole on the list! I now live in Nevada, but I worked at Pithole as a tour guide when I was in high school many years ago. I worked at Drake Well in the winter and was well versed in the history of the oil region. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Fall Brook in Tioga County some foundations left and a cemetery that is pretty cool lots of immigrants from Europe buried there whole families from a Scarlet fever epidemic !

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    • My mom grew up in Laurel Run, PA. I have read that the fires did/do burn from underground, as I understand it?
      Not sure what if anything is still there, but I know Laurel Run had to be evacuated in the (early?) 1960’s due to the danger of the fires.

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  18. How about Fallbrook in Bradford or Tioga county. Masten in Lycoming county. I think Fallbrook was. Coal strip mining area. Masten I’m pretty sure was lumber…both were good sized towns with nothing left now but a few foundations and some old roads.
    Then there’s one on top of a mountain near Ralston, PA. I know the name but can’t think of it. My friend’s Italian immigrant family lived up there and ran a boarding house. All that’s left are foundations and a cemetery as well as the adits to some of the coal mines.

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  19. My Dad grew up in a town called Ralphton, near Somerset, PA. When I left PA about 40 years ago, there were still a few houses left, and some ruins.

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  20. I used to drive through Centralia on way to Shamokin,Pa where my husband used to live. I remember it when they were trying to get the people to move out. finally they all went.

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  21. there is an old lumbering town near Coudersport pa, it’s called Mina….it use to be a large town. It has a cemetery, which you can barely see anymore, and the houses are all gone. Not sure if one can go up the road anymore as the road is fading away.

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  22. In Warren County was located the town of Corydon, PA. For the majority of the time it’s located at the bottom of the Allegany Reservoir, but every once in a while when the reservoir is lowered for the winter months, the town is accessible on foot. The paved main street (complete with yellow pavement paint) can still be seen, along with several foundations and the remnants of the town cemetery including some old grave stones left behind. It’s not always accessible, but it’s a neat place to visit when it is.

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  23. Curtin, PA. My 2x great Grandfather was born there. There are some surviving houses, a mill and a museum commemorating the small community.

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  24. When my husband was still living, we loved going to Landrus and Fallbrook. It was fun imagining how they were laid out.

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  25. Can’t say that it’s my favorite only because it’s the only abandoned place I’ve ever been to and that would be Centralia Pennsylvania. It was probably one of the most amazing places I visited time and time again! It left a very special place in my heart. It leaves you with a Feeling of peace yet sadness at the same time! It will always be my number one place

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  26. Fricks Locks Historic District or more simply Frick’s Lock is an abandoned village, along the also abandoned Schuylkill Canal, in the northeast portion of East Coventry Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. This 18th-century village outlasted the canal, being abandoned in the late 20th century with the construction of the adjacent Limerick Nuclear Power Plant. The village on about 18 acres of land were listed as a historic district by the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.[2] Frick’s Locks is considered a modern ghost town and, although private property, attracts visitors.

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  27. I was born in a small coal mining town, Madera, Pa… Before the 1970’s it was thriving two grocery stores, two 5&10, bank, gas station, Farms, post office, dentist, doctor office, theater, schools a Moose, VFW, Hotel, Insurance business, two beauty shops, coal tipple and many working mines and Sewing factory and other people with small home skills like shoe cobbler. After the unions came in the sewing factory and coal bottomed out the town starter to die. A lot of the kids went to college and never returned,and others left for jobs . No jobs to bring them back to the area the town was left with aging people or others who were to poor to leave or some who could find a job. The town is still there but there are no stores no bank and mail is delivered to the few that remain. It is so sad now.

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  28. Crum in shade Township pa you can find many foundations remaining and the famous haunted Crum cemetery the town had supposedly burned down

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