Categories
Roadside America

Hoover Dam on the Colorado River

The Hoover Dam is an engineering marvel, truly one of the great monuments to American ingenuity and strength. Like Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, I couldn’t help being struck by the sheer size of the dam. It was a massive project on an unprecedented scale, like the ancient pyramids. An entire city was built to house the thousands of workers.

The Hoover Dam spans the Black Canyon on the Colorado River, between Nevada and Arizona. U.S. Route 93 used to cross the dam, but a bypass was opened in 2010 to divert traffic away from the structure. The steel and concrete bridge, called the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, is impressive in itself. The bridge is 1,900 feet long and 900 feet above the Colorado River.

The dam was built between 1931 and 1936 and cost $49 million ($700 million today). It was originally called the Boulder Dam, but Congress changed its name in 1947 in honor of former President Herbert Hoover. It rises 726.4 feet and spans 1,244 feet.

Categories
Mysterious America

Lakey’s Creek and the Headless Horseman of Illinois

“I almost wept as the spectra placed
The head back into the sack;
Clop, clop… the headless rider
moved on.” –Neil Tracy “The Legend of Lakey”

LaKey Creek drains the farmland northwest of McLeansboro, Illinois and heads south, eventually joining the north fork of the Saline River in rural Hamilton County. From there, the Saline River grows more robust, until it ultimately empties into the Ohio River on the eastern side of the Shawnee National Forest. The creek would have been a strategic place for any early setter of McLeansboro Township. Unfortunately for Mr. Lakey, who would lend his name to the creek, the picturesque tract of land he picked for a homestead was also his place of death. For it was with his life that he purchased the immortality of having both a creek and a local legend associated with his name.

Not long after the death of Lakey, two travelers reportedly were chased by a fearsome black steed, upon which sat a headless rider. The horseman menaced them until they crossed the creek, at which point the phantom turned downstream and disappeared. The headless horseman of Lakey’s Creek is quite possibly one of the oldest ghost stories in Illinois.

Passed down as an oral tradition until John W. Allen put the story on paper in 1963, the mysterious man named Lakey, as well as his untimely end, has been immortalized in the folklore of Southern Illinois. Like Jonesboro’s legend of Dug Hill and Provost Marshal Welch, this story may also be preserving the memory of an unsettling event in local history.

Categories
Mysterious America

The Many Mysteries of Rogues Hollow Road

A headless horse is among the phantoms said to haunt this formerly rough-and-tumble holler near Doylestown, Ohio.

  • Rogues Hollow was a nineteenth century mining community known for its rambunctious residents.
  • According to legend, a low-hanging branch decapitated a horse along the trail, and its spirit returns.
  • The bridge over Silver Creek is one of Ohio’s many “crybaby bridges.”

Rogues Hollow is a geologic depression and former town located south of the village of Doylestown in northeastern Ohio, a few miles southwest of Akron. Though long defunct, the road and bridge of the same name has long been a magnet for legends. Today, Doylestown celebrates its unique heritage with the Rogues’ Hollow Festival, an annual event which takes place the first Friday and Saturday of August.

Though one of many “crybaby bridges” scattered throughout rural Ohio, Rogues Hollow’s notorious history makes it unique. Rogues Hollow was formed after centuries of erosion by the meandering of Silver Creek, and the area was settled in the early 1800s when coal deposits were discovered. In 1958, Russell Frey printed a collection  of area history called Rogue’s Hollow: History and Legends. He described the mining community as rough-and-tumble, full of taverns, violent episodes, and tormented spirits.

Categories
Appearances

On Location with FEARnet’s “Streets of Fear”

Today I had the pleasure of being interviewed by two aspiring young filmmakers from Chicago for an upcoming webisode of FEARnet’s “Streets of Fear” series. The new episodes of “Streets of Fear” will be featured on FEARnet’s website throughout October. This particular webisode will be about Boone County’s Blood’s Point Road. I met Josh and his assistant at the bridge overlooking the railroad tracks where legend has it several people were hanged, committed suicide, or have died in tragic accidents.

The cameraman, Josh Tallo, and I
The cameraman, Josh Tallo, and I

We were plagued by mosquitoes for the entire interview
We were plagued by mosquitoes for the entire interview

Kathi Kresol of the Haunted Rockford tour was interviewed at Blood's Point Cemetery
Kathi Kresol of the Haunted Rockford tour was interviewed at Blood's Point Cemetery

Paranormal enthusiasts from Rockford College watch the filming.
Paranormal enthusiasts from Rockford College watch the filming.

I think the interview turned out great and I am looking forward to seeing the final results. In the meantime, here is a link to a webisode from last year’s series: Streets of Fear: Shades of Death Road