Bridge lore is always fascinating, yet boringly all the same stories when it comes down to it. It’s always about some girl, or woman, who either had a wreck, fell out of a vehicle, was kidnapped, raped, or there is a grisly murder by a man, or several men… you get what I mean! And almost all of these stories can never be corroborated with evidence, or a paper trail.
There are several bridges in the Bowling Green area of Warren County, KY, two right inside the city limits now. I will cover what I know of Richardsville Bridge in a later feature, because I have two articles I plan to cover back to back about the area between Cemetery Road (Hwy 234) and Scottsville Road (Hwy 231), that stretches from I-65 to an area close to Hwy 101, near the Barren County line. Alot of the very early history of Warren and western Barren Co. happened in this area. There were Indians still in the river bottoms when settlement began, and there were a few fortifications there, the most famous being McFadden Station.
The area I wish to speak of now has such a wicked past that the Middle Bridge Road was allowed to be closed after flooding on Drake’s Creek in the 1970s washed the bridge out. Reading of this reminded me of the bridge near the old Buffalo Ford on Oil Well Road, here in Barren Co. Both legends are similar, but Middle Bridge carries an even richer past than Buffalo Ford.
Bowling Green has a rich and storied past, and the area on the east side of I-65 confirms that, especially in the area along Drake’s Creek. Two bridges crossed the Drake’s that have a very storied past. The first I will mention is still in use, and crosses Drake’s Creek on what is known as Old Scottsville Road (2629). Now, this is not to be mixed up with Hwy 231, that is still called Scottsville Road. Among the many legends still surrounding the Old Scottsville Road bridge is that there is still a place near it on the west side of the creek where the toll booth used to stand. Tolls were paid before entering Bowling Green, just like they were at Glasgow on Hwy 31E north of town.of
The Old Scottsville Road bridge is also known to have been the place of an early-day lynching, possibly of a black man, for crimes that have been lost to time. With the toll house and the lynching, teens back in the day spent many a night trying to scare the daylights out of each other, and possibly gain sight of any ghosts that might linger.
The Middle Bridge Road is even richer in lore and legend. And there is no doubt that things occurred here, and surely still do. The road is now separated into two sections, one on each side of Drake’s Creek, and at least half a mile of the old road on the east side has been allowed to grow over, and is now part of farmland, just like Oil Well Road was for many a year. The west part of Middle Bridge Road leaves Lover’s Lane near the airport and goes under I-65, ending at Cumberland Trace, which runs parallel with I-65. This particular section is on a hill above Drake’s Creek, and where the old Middle Bridge Road went down to the creek has been allowed to grow back to woods, behind the Cumberland Ridge subdivision.
Civil War Post 114 used to stand up on this hill that is now Cumberland Ridge subdivision. it was known as an active area for unexplained phenomena and the paranormal before it was torn down and cleared to make way for the subdivision in the 1990s. If you enter the subdivision and go as far back to the right as you can, there is a cemetery back in the woods. In this cemetery, a grave is marked, “First white man born this side of Green River.” For this cemetery to have this noted a personage interred here, I have so far been unable to locate any records of this cemetery or its name, or the man’s name for that matter!
On the east side of Drake’s Creek, there used to be a house that was near Middle Bridge Road, but it was demolished, because people kept coming to it to see if it was haunted, and the owner of the property decided tearing it down was the only way to keep people out. The old house was where the stagecoach ran through, and the ferry ran here on Drake’s Creek before Middle Bridge was built. This was the McFadden’s Ferry, and how McFadden’s Ferry subdivision got its name.
The main story of the haunting of Middle Bridge is supposed to revolve around the death of a girl or young woman, who was said to haunt the area near the bridge itself. Among several stories, the first I heard was that the Middle Bridge ghost is supposedly the sister of Milton Hancock, “Uncle Milt,” who ran the BBQ on nearby Cemetery Road. She was said to be swimming with a group of kids in the 1920s or ’30s in the creek near the bridge and supposedly drowned.
The most popular tale by far is that a girl was raped and killed there in the 1950s by four WKU guys. This is where the legend arose that if you parked near the bridge, on the east side, the ghost would come down the hill, cross the bridge and approach the car. She reputedly crawled up on the hood of the car and stared at you through the windshield, to ascertain if the guy in the car was one of the ones who had raped and killed her.
The consensus of older local residents is that noone was ever raped there, and noone ever died on that stretch of road. In the 1990s, a group of rock climbers were climbing on the bluffs there, and a teacher, or college professor, supposedly fell to his death, but otherwise, there are no other tales of death and murder. Only supposed eyewitness accounts of seeing the ghost, or other strange phenomena, at the site of Middle Bridge itself.
In the 1960s, a well-known president of the IFC at Western, went out to Middle Bridge for several nights to sit with some college boys and see what would happen. It was several nights in a row before, on one particular night, about 2 am, they saw a light coming down the hill. When it got a little more than halfway down the hill, they decided it was time for them to leave.
Two couples were double,dating one night in the same era, and they decided to go out to the old bridge and park. They told that the light came all the way down the hill before they even noticed it. The light settled kn the hood of the car, and the car started vibrating. They got scared and tried to start.their car, but it wouldn’t start. After the light disappeared, it was 5 or 10 minutes before the car would start.
The above mentioned president of fraternities also told about 3 WKU professors, all men, a philosopher and two psychologists. They decided to go out to Middle Bridge just to see what would happen. One of the 3 men had a chihuahua that rode on the back of the car seat with him everywhere he went.
After about a week of observation, late one night, the dog started shivering and whining. They looked up at the cliff and watched the.light come down and settle on the hood of the car. The car started vibrating and shaking, and like with the double-daters, the car wouldn’t start. They watched the light move over to the bridge and take the shape of a girl. These 3 professors swore at that time to the truth of this story.
As to the authenticity of these tales, I cannot vouch for their accuracy. The bridge has been gone since the early 1970s, and the people who told these tales that started this particular legend are probably long-gone from this area.
The last piece I found was from the late 1980s, submitted by a man who worked for the farmer who owned the field.off Hunts Lane, where Middle Bridge used to cross the creek. By then the tales had morphed to that of a little girl falling out the back door of a car as it crossed the bridge, and she supposedly died right there on the bridge. She was then purported to be the ghost that everyone saw there. By then the old road had been closed for.a.long time, and the field.was being used for farm land.
The man was working on a tractor for the farmer, who had told him he didn’t have to work after dark. But he wanted to go ahead and get the.job done, so he stayed late one night. It was dark and you could only see where the headlights were shining. He turned the tractor around when he got down to the end of a row, and the tractor lights shone over where the old bridge was located. The trees and undergrowth are all around it now, and the tree limbs and branches were really blowing. The man didn’t really think anything about it at first, until he realized the wind wasn’t blowing anyplace else. He got scared then and licked up the farm disk with the tractor lift, then drove the tractor up the little dirt road as fast as he could.
He managed to get scared so bad over this incident that he left the tractor on foot shortly after this happened, and he said he never went back to the area after dark again!
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