The town of Avon, Indiana, located right outside of Indianapolis, has a long history. Despite its humble size, it has a reputation as a family-oriented community with its fair share of things to do. However, one of Avon’s most famous attractions is its “Haunted Bridge.” Travel back in time to discover the scariest bridge in Indiana and the local legends that survived over a century.
What Is the Scariest Bridge in Indiana?
Spanning a rural road in Avon is the scariest bridge in Indiana. The structure is a triple-arch railroad trestle in central Indiana, right outside Indianapolis. The gothic bridge towers over County Road 625 East in Hendricks County, south of U.S. 36. However, its appearance doesn’t put drivers in the area on the edge of their seats. Instead, it’s the stories of the people who lived and died along the bridge in its early years.
History of the Avon Bridge
Built in 1906, it’s a 300-foot long and 70-foot high haunted railroad bridge. The local folklore and ghost stories are almost as old as the bridge itself. It was built as part of the Big Four Railroad, also known as the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis Railway. This railroad company operated from 1889 to 1930 through the Midwest in affiliation with the New York Central system. It primarily carried passengers through Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. However, the headquarters was in Indianapolis, and the Big Four Yards yard facility was in Avon.
According to the official plaque for “The Haunted Bridge,” multiple people have died on the Avon Bridge, including a construction worker who became entombed in the cement. He allegedly fell into wet cement while the frame was built, and the other workers couldn’t rescue him. He was buried alive. The company simply left his body where it was because removing it was too costly.
Unfortunately, he’s not the only one to lose his life on the bridge. According to the city plaque, four men plunged to their deaths into White Lick Creek. There is also a story about a woman carrying her sick infant across the tracks on her way to the doctor. She lost her footing and met a similar fate. However, many details of these occurrences are difficult, if not impossible, to confirm.
CSX still uses the scariest bridge in Indiana to transport freight and industrial materials.
Haunting of the Avon Bridge
Against their parents’ wishes, children who lived nearby commonly played on the railroad tracks. As a result, they likely made up stories to pass the time exploring the spooky bridge. But these stories quickly gained momentum, spreading to nearby towns. In fact, railroad authorities were concerned the tales about screaming ghosts would become a liability. Therefore, they built a fence around the main entrance, but it didn’t successfully keep anyone out.
The Avon Bridge became the scariest bridge in Indiana because of the theorized hauntings. There are arches adults can duck under to make their way through cavernous rooms built into the tunnel-like structure. The ceiling is so low that you must crouch. Here, decades’ worth of colorful graffiti paints the concrete walls. But you can also hear noises believed to be the eerie screams of those who died.
According to the plaque and people in the area, you can hear the screams of the entombed worker when the trains cross. Moreover, you can allegedly hear the screaming from the mother and the cries from the baby. Splashes in the creek can also be heard while the water remains undisturbed.
The access road to Avon Bridge is gated at night. So, if you’re interested in exploring, keep it to the daytime. However, people still commonly drive under it, sometimes honking to drown out the sounds of the screams.
Debunking the Ghost Stories
Reports of supernatural activities around the Avon Bridge were so widespread that local newspapers reported on the alleged hauntings in 1908. People reported hearing the screams and movement in the water and even claimed to see apparitions. However, there is a plausible explanation for some of these sounds coming from the scariest bridge in Indiana.
Late DePauw University professor and Indiana bridge preservationist James Cooper acknowledged many of these theories. But he attributed the howling noise to the natural reverberations from the overhead train passing. The empty caverns within the structure only add to the phenomenon. However, the folk legends are part of Avon’s history. Their depictions also decorate the cement walls, primarily left by teenagers who used the area for ghost chases and parties.
Wildlife Near the Scariest Bridge in Indiana
Indiana is home to common forest animals. That means you will likely find squirrels, rabbits, and deer roaming the area surrounding the scariest bridge in Indiana. Since it is a public roadway with loud trains passing through, you may need to travel farther away from the bridge to get a glimpse of native Indiana wildlife. However, the creek flowing under a portion of the structure surely brings some animals close.
Coyotes, badgers, and the occasional black bear may appear late in the area. It’s also common to spot opossums, bobcats, groundhogs, and foxes outside Indianapolis. You may even catch sight of a bat, barn owl, bald eagle, or the state bird, the northern cardinal, flying through the air.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Gardenia-Pantoja/iStock via Getty Images
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