The Haunted Bridge
Deep within the confines of Avon town limits sits a spooky bridge with a history, rampant rumors and very little documented information. The bridge spanning the White Lick Creek on County Road 625 is known by many as The Haunted Bridge.
Built in 1906-1907, the bridge was double tracked in 1908. It stands 70 feet high and 300 feet long. DePauw University Professor James Cooper said rumors likely began because the bridge is hollow, making it sound as if it moans and groans.
Local historian Susan Truax, a student of Cooper’s, said there is likely truth to his theory; however, the town of Avon has no written history or local newspaper that spanned back that far, so historians are required to rely on oral histories.
Truax shared some of the most popular rumors about The Haunted Bridge:
An alcoholic worker fell into the bridge while they were pouring it and was buried in the bridge, so it’s his voice you hear moaning and groaning. Some say his tools are also still stuck in the bridge.
An African-American worker fell into the bridge, and it’s his voice you hear. However, Truax said there is no evidence, based on the photographs of the bridge being built, that any African-Americans worked on the bridge, though she won’t discount it’s a possibility.
A mother was taking her child to the doctor or on a walk (the story varies), and the baby fell off the bridge into the creek. The mother jumped in to save her baby, and she’s the one moaning.
Charlie Muston, a great-nephew to Reena Barker, a longtime Avon resident, said in an oral interview that his aunt served meals to the workers after the accident happened and was adamant there’s a worker they were unable to get out of the concrete.
In an oral history interview, Ron Masten said rumors grew in the 1950s when Marion County kids would come from Indianapolis to see The Haunted Bridge, and Avon kids would purposely try to scare them. He said they would set firecrackers and throw them into the gravel road to make sounds and make them think it was haunted.
Truax said historians would like to learn more about the bridge and about the workers who died and were maimed while building it. For now, all she knows for certain is that Irishmen helped build the bridge that many continue to speculate about more than 100 years after it was built.