Historic covered bridges are a big draw to rural counties in the Northeast and Midwest. They conjure gentler times with horse-drawn carriages, picnics by the stream… and angry female ghosts! At least Emily’s Bridge brings those things to mind.
This 178-year-old covered bridge sits outside Stowe, Vermont, harboring a secret that many travelers seek to discover.
It’s a romantic tragedy that some compare to Romeo and Juliet, or is it? Let’s see if there is truth to the tale!
Where Is Emily’s Bridge in Vermont?
Locals also call Gold Brook Covered Bridge the Stowe Hollow Bridge for its location outside the picturesque town of Stowe, Vermont.
The owner built the 50-foot-long bridge to provide transport across Gold Brook in the mid-1800s, well after people found gold in its waters. It is now remembered more for the part it played in a tragic story of lovers.
About Emily’s Bridge
Built in 1844 by John W. Smith, the Gold Brook Covered Bridge is a wooden Howe truss bridge and the only surviving bridge in Vermont of this type that has a public road running through it.
The bridge is covered in vertical clapboard and is in excellent condition, considering its age and the number of supposed apparitions within its walls.
The rumors bring tourists and sightseers by the droves to explore its haunted hollow.
What Happened At Emily’s Bridge?
Stories suggest that a young teenage girl named Emily, who hailed from a low-income family, was desperately in love with a young man from a family of great wealth. The couple wanted to marry, but the boy’s parents would not allow it, so the teenagers planned to elope. Emily waited at Gold Brook Covered Bridge for her betrothed, preparing to run away together. Sadly, he never showed, and the girl was so heartbroken that she could not continue, choosing to end her life at the bridge.
The story diverges at this point, with some versions stating that Emily hung herself from the rafters of the covered bridge, while others state that she jumped from the bridge into the creek.
One even says she drove into the water. Her demise is hard to pin down, as the story ranges from occurring somewhere between 1849 and 1949! No matter the ending, they say the girl’s spirit stuck around to haunt others who visit the site.
She wasn’t a quiet, celestial being by any stretch of the imagination. Most report that the jilted lover appeared as an angry and vengeful ghost.
Pro Tip: Enjoy exploring spooky sites? Check out these 13 Most Haunted Places in the U.S.
Why Do People Visit Emily’s Bridge in Vermont?
After many versions of an unrequited love story, people knew Gold Brook Bridge unofficially as Emily’s Bridge. Visitors come worldwide to catch a glimpse of the ghostly occurrences that reportedly happen there.
Legend has it that Emily takes out her angst on automobiles that drive through the bridge, scratching their paint with her long fingernails. She is also extremely vocal about her rejection by the love of her life, crying out to those who would dare drive through ‘her’ tunnel.
Strange apparitions and unexplained lights surround this mysterious location, and those looking to experience these macabre happenings seek out Emily’s Bridge.
How Many Covered Bridges Are in Vermont?
There are more than 100 covered bridges still in Vermont. That’s more bridges per square mile than any other state in the union. The oldest one dates to 1820, and the longest one is the Windsor-Cornish Bridge that connects Windsor, Vermont, with Cornish, New Hampshire.
If you’d like to plan an excursion to Vermont’s covered bridges, you can find a map of their locations here.
What Was the Purpose Of a Covered Bridge?
Since most of the country’s covered bridges date between 1825 and 1875, the builders constructed them out of wood. Building a covering over the bridge and along its sides was thought to protect the structure from harsh weather like rain, snow, and ice.
This kept rot away from the bridge’s trusses and beams and gave the design more longevity.
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Is Emily’s Bridge in Vermont Worth Visiting?
Emily’s Bridge qualifies as a roadside attraction. It is worth seeing if you are an admirer of historic covered bridges and their unique architecture. It’s also a location you can visit if you enjoy the fun of seeking out a spooky fairytale.
No one can verify this sorrowful story, as there is no evidence that anyone ever died at the bridge. Come at your own risk, though, and don’t take any chances driving your car through the bridge!
Would you visit Emily’s Bridge? Tell us in the comments!
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