If you’re searching for ghost towns in Pennsylvania, we’ve got you covered! Below are 12 different ghost towns you can explore across the great state of Pennsylvania along with their status and exact GPS coordinates.
We rate ghost towns in Pennsylvania based on their status. Here’s how our system works:
- Abandoned: Is abandoned with ruins and structures in a decayed state. Great for urban explorers.
- Historic: Preservation efforts have been made and sometimes plaques installed. Great for everyone.
- Barren: Almost nothing remains of the town. Ideal for metal detectorists.
- Commercial: Is commercially owned with amenities, restaurants, and stores. Great for families.
- Semi-Abandoned: Abandoned areas with a small population in the area.
- Privately Owned: Tours might be available but not open to the general public.
If you’ve never heard of Centralia I’d be seriously surprised as its one of the most infamous ghost towns in Pennsylvania. Before it became a ghost town, the community had a vibrant mining industry. When Centralia was incorporated, it had a population of about 1,100. It was a bustling community, and its residents never imagined the events to come.
A trash fire was either accidentally or purposely set which ignited miles of underground coal veins ablaze. It wasn’t until a local child fell into a sinkhole that residents discovered what was wrong. The underground fire poisoned the air, destabilized homes, and created sinkholes that could swallow up a car.
The government eventually stepped in and declared eminent domain over the town for safety concerns, buying out residents and forcing them to find another place to call home.
Today not much remains, but the fire still burns on to this day. There is the famous graffiti highway which was recently covered with dirt by some angry old guy, and an old church that is kept up by the locals.
Although there are more exciting ghost towns in Pennsylvania, Centralia is truly iconic and a place you shouldn’t pass up if you’re into ghost towns.
2. Scotia Barrens
One of the hidden gems of Centre County, Pennsylvania, is the Scotia Barrens. This area was once home to a bustling iron ore mining operation. The town was once a thriving community, including 400 residents.
In addition to the school and church, Scotia also had a civic center, a small library, and a band. While its population has decreased over the years, it was still a good place to live. The town was home to a baseball team and band, which provided recreation and entertainment for its residents. However, the town’s prosperity did not last.
Scotia is among the more popular ghost towns in Pennsylvania, but that doesn’t take away from its beauty. The mossy concrete ruins of the town can be found scattered across the forest making for some great photo ops.
3. Rausch Gap
The former mining town of Rausch Gap was located near the eastern trailhead and is 3.5 miles west of the eastern trailhead. The old streets of the town are regularly mowed, giving visitors an insight into the life of this short-lived community.
This abandoned mining town is a popular stop for hikers and tourists. The area is also a popular site for apparitions, with many travelers reporting seeing a ghostly woman walking on abandoned railroad beds. This ghost town is part of the Appalachian Trail, and you can reach it by car or on foot by following Gold Mine Road.
Today, the ruins of the abandoned town are preserved on state game lands near State College. During the summer, the town of Cold Spring was a popular tourist destination, thanks to the dam built by a German immigrant family.
4. Concrete City
In 1911, a coal division in the Delaware, Lackawana, and Western Railroad built a company housing community in Concrete City. The town’s architecture is an early example of International Style architecture in the United States. It was the first of its kind, and it is a monument to company housing.
The ruins of the houses, originally called “Garden Villages of the Anthracite Region,” remain a testament to this form of living. The town was a pioneering community, built for select company employees and has remained almost untouched since its demise
Today, the houses are used as a training center for firefighters, and there are many examples of fire damage on the structures. You can easily visit the abandoned concrete buildings that dot the landscape, making it one of the more accessible ghost towns in Pennsylvania.
Wehrum is one of the many abandoned ghost towns in Pennsylvania that has been completely taken back by nature. This coal mining town grew and thrived during the early 20th century, but it eventually closed its mine and its last occupants left in 1934.
The most striking thing about Wehrum, Pennsylvania is the relics of its former life. This town of about 250 people once had a post office, jail, company store, school, and two churches. Today its one of the most difficult ghost towns in Pennsylvania to find.
Wehrum is also home to the Wehrum Dam, which was built by the Bethlehem Mines Corporation. In 1977, it broke, contributing to the Johnstown Flood.
Though the dam is listed as “Unnamed Dam,” many locals refer to it as the Wehrum Dam. The old dam is still visible, with walls still resting on the cliffs. The basin, however, is overgrown. Wehrum also had a jail and a cemetery, but today, the prison is on private property and the cemetery lies on a hillside.
6. Frick’s Lock
Once a bustling village in Chester County, Frick’s Lock played an integral role in the canal transportation system. It was abandoned over 30 years ago by its residents, and has remained largely intact since then. In fact, there are even some remains from the original residents of Frick’s Lock, including toys, pots and pans, and even a dinner table set.
Despite its lack of residents, Frick’s Lock is still a popular attraction for thrill-seekers. It was included in the 2005 book Weird Pennsylvania and continues to be a hot spot for thrill-seekers. In February 2008, there was a fire that left four buildings unoccupied, and some people believe that the town still has residents.
There are tons to explore at Frick’s Lock, with the added bonus of the looming cooling towers in the background making for some eerie photos. If you’re into urban exploration, or simply love a good ghost town, don’t pass up Frick’s Lock!
7. Delaware Water Gap
If you love ghost towns, you’ll love Pennsylvania’s Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The region has more than three hundred historic structures, including two dozen buildings on the Jersey side.
The remaining buildings are now leased to nonprofit art colony Peters Valley School of Craft. Although Congress appropriated funds for the area more than 53 years ago, preserving the buildings has been difficult. Fortunately, preservation efforts have been largely successful.
Today the Deleware Water Gap is one of the best ghost towns in Pennsylvania for nature loves, and those who love enjoy visiting historic structures rather than only ones that have been abandoned,
Beulah, Pennsylvania is a true ghost town. Locals were so sure that there were ghosts that they published ghost stories in newspapers and other sources. One story is about a young girl who died on her wedding day because her future husband did not return her love.
She was one of the last inhabitants of the town. Many ghost stories from the town ended up in the Alleghenian newspaper. In 1861, the writer was out hunting late at night when he paused at the last house in Beula. He felt an icy hand on his head. He also described snow-white hair that covered his face and head.
Beulah is on a 44-mile trail. This trail offers a unique look at a former coal-mining town. The trail includes many historical sites and various abandoned structures. Given all these stories, Beulah is one of the most haunted ghost towns in Pennsylvania. But don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself.
9. Pithole City
The oil industry brought a booming economy to the area, and by the end of 1865, the town was home to approximately 15,000 people, with 57 hotels and the third busiest post office in the state.
During the 19th century, the oil industry began in the area near Titusville, Pennsylvania, near the Frazier Well. The price of oil plummeted from $8.00 per barrel to $2.50 in 1866, devastating many residents and businesses.
Pithole City never had much of a chance, but explorers can view the preserved buildings and explore the area freely, making this one of the best ghost towns in Pennsylvania for a peaceful stroll.
10. Yellow Dog Village
Yellow Dog was one of many mining towns scattered across the state. The town’s name comes from the agreement between its workers and the mining company. The village was sold multiple times throughout the Great Depression but has reverted to its original name. During the Great Depression, the village was abandoned several times, but was only inhabited by miners for a few years. In 1959, the village was sold to a church.
For a more in-depth history of Yellow Dog be sure to check out Johnny’s article.
Though the town is now abandoned, the owners of Yellow Dog Village are trying to revive it as a historic village with the hopes of restoring it to its former glory. Meyer hopes to create a living history museum, where visitors can experience the era’s lifestyle. He will also provide tours of the village, which he plans to open to the public. A visit to Yellow Dog Village is an experience that is sure to be unforgettable.
This place is one of my favorite ghost towns in Pennsylvania and I highly recommend you check it out.
11. Eckley Miners’ Village
The Eckley Miners’ Village ghost town in eastern Pennsylvania has been a popular tourist destination since 1970. This historic anthracite coal mining patch town is operated as a museum by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. You can experience how life was in this unique town through interactive exhibits and guided tours of the historic buildings.
The Eckley Miners’ Village was built in the mid-1850s in the coal-rich area of Luzerne County, about six miles from Hazleton. It was a company town that housed laborers for the nearby Council Ridge Colliery.
Before the filming of “The Molly Maguires,” the community was in danger of being demolished. But thanks to a local businessman and Paramount Pictures, the town was preserved and opened to the public. Today, there are 20 people living in Eckley full-time, including descendants of the original Council Ridge miners. This makes the town a great destination for tourists. It’s definitely worth visiting.
Given all the time and money put into preservation, Eckley Miner’s Village is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in Pennsylvania.
12. French Azilum
During the French Revolution, French aristocrats fled their country and settled in the Pennsylvania frontier. Their settlement, called the Azilum Settlement, lasted ten years and was populated by nobles unaccustomed to common life. The settlement slowly grew, until 1803 when it was abandoned.
A revival of the settlement started in the 1950s, and today the site is a historical site. While the French-American community in Azilum has long been a mystery, you can still visit the ruins to learn more about their history.
While most ghost towns in Pennsylvania are old company towns, Azilium brings something new to the table, making it one of the more unique ghost towns in Pennsylvania.
Go out and explore!
That concludes our list of ghost towns in Pennsylvania, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.