Have you ever taken a trip (drive or other forms of travel) where you set off for one kind of adventure and end up having a completely DIFFERENT kind?
Well, this is one of those stories. I set off for Central Illinois with my regular ghost adventure buddy, John Hoblit. We were returning from something (neither of us remembers exactly what) and decided to stop at Lincoln, Illinois where John’s father’s family hails from.
John had mentioned this road that leads to an abandoned bridge called “The Ghost Bridge”. Well, I, of course was up for that! John had done some research through a cousin of his named Leigh Henson and Troy Taylor’s website that talked about this bridge that was located between two old cemeteries.
We arrive and find the gate that leads down this old road. (The following picture is from John’s cousin, Leigh Henson). These are the kinds of places I LIVE for.
It is about a 10 minute walk (taking time to slap the mosquitoes!) The road winds through some pretty dense trees with a few clearings that show the field that surround the area.
So we come around the corner and there it is…the last remnants of this old bridge.
This is where I find out the great part. This used to be a part of the famous Route 66 road!
Much of the information to follow came from Leigh Henson’s award winning website: http://findinglincolnillinois.com/rte66atsaltcreek.html
Salt Creek ( which was called Onaquispasippi by the Native Americans. I know what you are thinking and I completely agree! Salt Creek is SO much easier) is the largest stream in Logan County and has been important to this region.
Its history began with the Native Americans and even includes a land dispute settled on the banks of the creek by none other than Abraham Lincoln himself! The churches in the area used it for their baptism rituals which back in the 1850’s included total immersion in the creek.
So, where (most of you are probably thinking) does the Ghost from Ghost Bridge come in? I, too questioned this. I imagined a great story of a love between a Native American girl and a local white boy where both families refused to accept their love and the young lovers took their own lives rather than be separated. I even though that maybe the stories of Boone Hoblit making his moonshine to sell continued on after his death with him chasing visitors away from the road so no one would reveal his secret. But this is not the case.
In my research I found no such story. My buddy John even called the local library in Lincoln. He was assisted by a very helpful librarian who gave him a website that she assured him would prove interesting. Imagine his surprise when the website turned out to be of the ADULT kind! (seems that the Logan County tourism website had changed their address and did not inform their local library!)
That is what I meant in the beginning when I spoke of thinking I was in for one type of adventure and having a completely different one. The cemeteries on either side of the old road are very beautiful and peaceful and Troy Taylor talks of another in close proximity, the Old Union Cemetery on his website. But the reason that this particular bridge is called a Ghost bridge is because that is what the people who seek out such abandoned sites call them.
Even though there is no great story behind the name, I felt that this place deserved to be mentioned. As I stood there, with the light from the sun setting around me, it was easy to picture it as it once was. It has that sense that places of the past carry with them. The ability to, just for a second, transport us back. These places share their layers of history, from the days of Native American hunting and fishing, to the baptisms of the 1850’s, to the bootlegging of the 20’s and 30’s. I hope you take the time to visit if you are ever in this area.
For more great tales of this area, please visit Leigh Henson’s website: http://findinglincolnillinois.com/rte66atsaltcreek.html
Copyright © 2013 Kathi Kresol, Haunted Rockford Events