I've visited the Everett Road covered bridge in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park at several different times and during several different seasons, and I've always found it to be a quiet and scenic little spot.
However, other visitors have a different tale to tell, reporting ghostly sightings and strange, disembodied voices pleading for help in the face of danger.
The Everett Road bridge is the last remaining covered bridge in Summit County (south of Cleveland and near Akron), and I like lingering in its pretty setting in the national park near a bridle trail, watching for horseback riders and taking photos.
Perhaps if I visited the bridge at night, I might change my mind.
In 1877, Farmer John Gilson and his wife went to visit friends one cold winter night. A storm arose as the couple returned home. The couple needed to ford Furnace Run with their horse-drawn wagon or sled, but rising water and ice blocked their usual crossing.
Mr. Gilson began leading his horses across the creek at another crossing, but he and the horses lost their footing. Mrs. Gilson survived the incident, even though she fell into the water as well, but Mr. Gilson did not.
Some say that the construction of the Everett Road covered bridge was a response to the Gilson tragedy. Another researcher says the span's original name was Centennial Bridge, indicating a possible construction date tied to the United States Centennial in 1876.
The bridge's truss style and the fact that wooden bridges began to fall out of favor by the 1880s suggest that the bridge may date to the late 1870s, but there is no record confirming the bridge's construction date.
The mystery deepens when you consider the construction of Everett Road itself in 1856.
Road construction workers found a burial mound with a tomb containing the remains and belongings of Native Americans who were part of the Hopewell Culture, native groups living in Ohio 1500 to 2100 years ago.
Mid-nineteenth century folks didn't appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the discovery and simply built their road over part of the burial ground.
Ghosts, on the other hand, reportedly have a different view of things, and a ghostly hitchhiker reportedly frequents the road in an area between the native burial site and the wooden bridge.
Flood waters again played a role in the bridge's history, damaging the bridge heavily in 1913 and destroying it completely in 1975.
School kids began raising money to rebuild the bridge, but it took more than a decade for the project to come to fruition. A crew of local citizens recruited by the National Park Service rebuilt the bridge by hand in 1986, using mostly new timbers instead of the rotted remains of the original bridge.
Ghosts reportedly continue to haunt the rebuilt span with ghost hunters continuing to conduct investigations in the area and detecting nocturnal ghostly orbs, fogs and disembodied voices at the site.