Today’s first seemed appropriate, being the week that it is. I had written this idea down early in the year, from a Springfield, MO publication that listed interesting things to do in this busy city. I can’t believe it is already the end of October and I have less than 65 days to go to complete my year of firsts.
I attempted this trip yesterday, with Greg, and we only made it to Carthage before a flat tire sidelined us at the local Walmart Tire Center. Today, we got underway by mid-afternoon and had a successful and uneventful trip. It was a gorgeous fall day to be out exploring. We arrived at the Phelps Grove Park while there was still plenty of sunshine.
The 31 acre park is situated in a beautiful older neighborhood in Springfield. I enjoyed the trek through the streets, admiring the cottage style homes and colorful trees and autumnal decorations. The current park was once part of the Phelps homestead, a 1050 acre farm that was home to the founding “father” and “mother” of Springfield, John and Mary Phelps. John was a Missouri congressman and the 23rd Governor of Missouri, while his wife, Mary, was involved with aiding and educating orphans during and after the Civil War. The park was established in 1913 and has mature trees, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a rose garden, a Victim’s Memorial Garden and barbecue pits and picnic tables for family gatherings.
We entered the park and slowly drove the length of the green space and then circled the perimeter, looking for the haunted bridge. As we approached the entrance again, we laughed as we realized we had driven OVER the bridge to enter the park. Made of fieldstone, the old bridge arches over a concrete drainage canal that is designed to carry away water during times of heavy rain. Legend has it that on their wedding night, a couple was crossing the bridge in their carriage when the horse bolted, causing the carriage to tip over the railing of the bridge. The carriage landed upside down, killing the couple. For years, people have claimed to see a woman near or under the bridge, dressed in a flowing white wedding gown. The park and bridge have been the site for several paranormal investigations that have recorded abnormal readings.
We walked around the park, enjoying the sunshine and the light breeze. Approaching the bridge, we read the historical markers there, with the stories of John and Mary Phelps printed on them. The bridge is small and pretty and ordinary looking in the bright fall light. I snapped pictures and peered into the gloom under the bridge, quietly watching for the bride. Greg climbed down into the canal to take a great pic of the bridge’s archway, and beyond. Neither of us spied the bride, but I sent her love and light. I do often catch orbs, light distortion and unusual images on my iPhone camera, but not today. Perhaps if we had gone back after dark she might have put in an appearance! Next time I’m in Springfield near dusk, I’ll pay another visit.