Avon Danville Bridges
White Lick Creek Bridge
The Story: During the first years of the 20th Century, White Lick Creek Bridge was constructed, and there on a hot August morning a tragedy occurred that would seal the fate of the bridge and ensure the bridge’s place in Indiana Ghost lore. In 1907 the Inter-Urban Railway was building a new railroad to connect Indianapolis with Terra Haute. During the winter and spring the railroad was headed towards the south and west. Most of the hard work consisted of building trestles and laying the track, was not done by permanent railroad employees, but instead by short-term workers from the surrounding area, consisting mainly of field hands from local farms. After the spring crops were planted there was plenty of cheap labor found. In late August, however, progress stopped. Farmers and hired hands abandoned their temporary railroad work to return to their fields. Needing to find cheap labor to complete the construction word was sent to railroad offices in Gary, Chicago, and Cincinnati. Soon trains full of young and old men were moving toward central Indiana. Some of the men were from the poorest parts of the city, where others were immigrants. They all were ready for the opportunity given to them by the railroad. Work began again. The new workers were doing backbreaking work with long hours. Since the workmen were cheap labor, and not permanent employees, their safety was a secondary concern. Tragedy soon struck. It occurred in the swampy woods outside of Avon where the workmen were building a concrete bridge over White Lick Creek. Wooden forms were built for the supporting pylons and cement was being brought in to make the columns. On the first day of the concrete work an accident occurred. The workmen mixing concrete poured the cement into a bucket, which was raised by a winch to the workmen above. Standing on the platform a man known as Dad Jones was working. Standing 6’5” and thought to be the strongest man on the crew he was given the most dangerous jobs. He was impatiently waiting for the second load of concrete when the platform he was standing on gave way, and he fell screaming, headlong into the wet cement. Unwilling to stop construction on the bridge, they rebuilt the platform and continued pouring cement into the molds, forever entombing the body of Dad Jones. Two weeks later the bridge was complete and the railroad moved on and Dad Jones was forgotten, until the screaming began. People started claiming that screams were coming, not from the tracks, but from the bridge itself. There also was reported the sounds of thumping, as if something, or someone, was hammering their fist against the concrete supporting columns below. To this day legend claims that if you wait patiently by the foot of the bridge on the night of the full moon, you will be rewarded by seeing the ghost of the dead workman rise and shake his fist as train a train passes, and hear his screaming. They also say that stains periodically reappear on the bridge on hot summer afternoons from water streaming down the support columns of the bridge, staining it the color of blood.
Location: Co. Rd. 625 East. in Avon, Indiana
Location: North end of Ellis Park, on the east side of Danville.
Directions: From the US 36 (Main Street) entrance, follow the main road back to the Playscape playground; there are parking spaces next to it. The bridge remains are behind the playground along the creek. There is a footbridge across the creek a little ways to the north.
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Our thanks to Cassandra for sharing this investigation.