An urban legend that has persisted over the years is that this bridge is haunted by a "Lady In White" since the late 1880's and would disappear before your eyes. There have also been legends of ghostly figures along Wells Street, one being the former location of Char's Furniture where a ghost allegedly "walked through" a person. Up the road and about a mile and another mile or so to the east is Northside High School, which is also allegedly built on an an old Indian burial ground and a construction worker and a janitor both passed away in the building and have been reported to still be haunting the school.
As the river was central to the fur trade along with a large settlement of Indians, the history of the area pre-dates most recorded documentation. This is the site of the city's first iron bridge which was built in 1859, which crashed into the river the next year when overburdened with a herd of cattle.
It is not known the exact year that the bridge was rebuilt, but likely between 1882 to 1902.
From an article in the News-Sentinel, that same year, Stephen Douglas, who was running against Abraham Lincoln for President lead a parade of followers and threw a log into the stream that was to represent defeating Lincoln.
From is an excerpt Hauntings indicated in the late 1880's is when the sighting began :
" They thought the woman had jumped from the bridge and the reports were actually published in a local newspaper. A second sighting occurred a week later. Then, shortly after that, the White Lady was again seen in a carriage driving wildly until she reached the middle of the bridge where she again disappeared. The final sighting of the alleged White Lady was even more fascinating. The police were keeping watch and spotted the White Lady giving chase. When they had nearly caught up to her, they threw a blanket over her. But, the blanket fell to the ground. Again, she had disappeared."Hauntings also has additional user submitted photos.
The bridge has been kept up (but not sure of its future fate). A few years ago we ventured across the bridge and didn't see anything, but heard an odd creaking noise. Upon further investigation the noise was made by a tree that had grown against the railing on the south side of the bridge near the bike path and creaked every time the wind blew.
Although it is likely more of a trick of light or fast sprinters or bikers across the bridge, sometimes when you are driving across the Van Buren overpass you will see something in your peripheral vision where you think you see something on the bridge, but when you look at it, you don't see anyone there, which happened on the day I took this picture. Or perhaps it is something else...if you ever get to Fort Wayne, Indiana I recommend checking it out for yourself.
Guide to Haunted Fort Wayne