If you grew up in the Denton area, you might know the Old Alton Bridge above as “Goat Man’s Bridge.” It seems to be one of the most familiar ghost stories to folks in these parts. Perhaps you shivered in fear at slumber parties or around a campfire at night, listening to gruesome tales. Maybe, as a teenager, you ventured out to the bridge with your friends at midnight, turned off the car headlights, honked, and waited, trembling, for the Goat Man to rush out of the darkness.
If you aren’t familiar with the bridge, it is a one-lane, 145 foot long iron truss bridge that was built in 1884 to connect the city of Denton with the community of Copper Canyon. The location is just south of what had been the community of Alton (formerly a county seat of Denton County) which had already faded into nothing by the time the bridge was built. That bridge was closed to traffic in about 2001 and replaced by a concrete and steel bridge. These days the bridge, which was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, is only used by hikers and horseback-riders — and thrill seekers who come out at night hoping to scare themselves silly at the sight of a ghost.
Since I conduct a ghost tour of Denton each weekend I just had to know more about this story. I did not go to the Old Alton Bridge at night. It’s not that I’m afraid of whatever haint is supposed to be there (and people tell many different stories of what might be haunting the place) … it’s that I would be afraid of the humans who might be hanging out in the area. Humans can be a lot scarier than ghosts! Although it is only five miles south of the city, and is near Guyer High School, the area seems remote and would be a bit eerie at night. In the daytime, however, the scariest thing about it was that there were swarms of biting flies! Trust me; I wouldn't lie to you. At night, mosquitoes will carry you away ... unless something else gets you first!
That said, don’t let me stop you from exploring the Goat Man’s Bridge. There are tales of hauntings out there, which I will be happy to share with you if you come on one of the weekend tours. Then, you can drive out to the bridge, but take a flashlight if you go at night and wear bug repellent! Where is it? Take I-35E S/US-77 S to exit 463 and merge onto the I-35 Frontage Rd. At Lillian Miller Parkway turn right and travel 0.8 miles (at that point, the road becomes FM Rd 2181/Teasley Lane), continue 3.2 miles and turn right at Old Alton Rd. You will see the bridge on the left. Be sure to tell me if you see the Goat Man!
Shelly has been a professional storyteller for 27 years. You don't even have to twist her arm and she will tell you a story.