Expedition Team: Dave Miller

Date: October 28, 2022

Through the years I’ve run on the trail under this bridge in at least three 5K Runs without knowing the dark history of the bridge area. The Stillwater River Recreational Bike Trail runs parallel to the river and curves under the bridge. The old steel trestle bridge was replaced by a more modern span at the end of World War I.

Bessie Little’s dead, bloated body was found floating in the river by the bridge on September 2, 1886. She was age 23, unmarried and pregnant with two small bullet holes in her head. After investigation her boyfriend Arthur Frantz was found guilty of the crime. 

A man fishing the Stillwater River on August 29, 1907, near the bridge reeled in a revolver that was used in the murder of Bessie Little in 1896. The Ridge Avenue Bridge was often coined the “Bessie Little Bridge”.

The bridge is reportedly haunted by the ghost of Bessie Little. People have seen a female apparition gliding across the bridge only to vanish. Some drivers at night have slammed on their brakes as a woman was standing in the road on the bridge. Sometimes screams or gunshots are heard. Is her spirit still there due to the betrayal of her boyfriend. 

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