Graffiti Highway Closing for Good?


Photo courtesy of Rebecca Lascala

Juniors Rebecca Lascala, Allison Campion and Isabella Varano traveled to Graffiti Highway in Centralia on March 15, 2020.

Known by the tons of people that travel there every year, Graffiti Highway was a popular unofficial tourist attraction in Centralia, Pennsylvania. The abandoned highway was once part of Pennsylvania’s Route 61, but had to close in 1993 because of the ongoing underground fires. It later became a place where people added art and graffiti to the deserted highway. 

As of Monday, April 6, 2020, land owner Pagnotti Enterprises, of Wilkes-Barre, hired Fox Coal Company to cover the .74 mile stretch of road and bury it with dirt over the next few days. Even though the highway was on private property and the fact that it’s illegal to go there didn’t stop people from seeing the graffiti-coated road. 

Countless reasons went into why Graffiti Highway had to be shut down for good. The main reason being that people were disobeying Governor Wolf’s stay-at-home order by coming to Graffiti Highway. Vandalism of the town and of the owner’s private property also went into the decision that Graffiti Highway can no longer exist as an unofficial tourist attraction. 

According to many of the visitors who went to Centralia’s “Graffiti Highway”, it was a great experience for them to see all the colors and artwork.

Pottsville sophomore Emilee Rose said, “I enjoyed going to Centralia with my friends and family to get pictures and to see all the new artwork each time I went. I’m sad that it is being shut down, but I understand why the owner of the property chose to do so.” 

Minersville junior Alyssa Hammer said, “I enjoyed seeing all the colors and how creative people can be.”

Nativity junior Camilla Kourey, “Graffiti Highway was always a fun and cool place to go with friends in PA. It had such a fascinating story behind it. It’s sad to know all the colorful art will be erased for good with no more future memories to be made there.” 

Some didn’t even get the chance to travel to Centralia to see the artwork on the highway. 

“I’ve never been to Graffiti Highway, but I’ve always enjoyed the idea of it because it’s a very unique place in Schuylkill County. It’s a place where people can go to express their inner creativity on a large and unusual canvas. It’s very unique because not many places have a highway entirely caked with graffiti,” said PAHS graduate Gavin Holley. 

Pottsville senior Daphnee Saint Juste said, “I always wanted to go because it’s a beautiful place to take photos and to be creative. I think it’s extremely important to our area because there is no other place like that around us. It holds so many stories throughout the years. I personally think it should still be there for future generations. It’s sad to see it going away.” 

Once filled with enough dirt, what once was known as “Graffiti Highway” will now be home to hundreds of trees to decrease the amount of vandalism done to Centralia.