Ghost of Bellamy Bridge
4057 Highway 162
Marianna, Florida

Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail is temporarily CLOSED due to damage sustained in Hurricane Michael. It will reopen soon.

Florida's Most Haunted Bridge!

Bellamy Bridge is the most haunted bridge in Florida and possibly even the United States! One of the South's oldest recorded ghost stories swirls around this beautiful old steel structure, bringing to life memories of a past time when the surrounding swamps were on the front edge of a new frontier.

The historic bridge is at the end of the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail, a one-half mile interpretive path that leads from a parking area on Highway 162 near Marianna, Florida. (NOTE: Dame sustained during Hurricane Michael has forced the temporary closure of the trail. It will reopen soon).

The legend of Bellamy Bridge has its origins in the early 19th century. The crossing was a shallow ford then, but a series of bridges has since stood on the site.

The land on both sides of the river was acquired by Dr. Edward C. Bellamy, for whom the bridge is named, in the 1830s. He settled on the property, which he called Terre Bonne Plantation, building a large manor house on higher ground about one-half mile east of the Chipola.

The house no longer stands, but a small family cemetery still exists on private lands nearby. Stones mark two graves, but the only inscription notes one is the final resting place of Elizabeth Jane Croom Bellamy.

Elizabeth died in 1837 and many believe that she is the ghost of Bellamy Bridge!
Historic and haunted Bellamy Bridge spans the Chipola River near Marianna, Florida. Many believe that the restless ghost of a young woman named Elizabeth Jane Bellamy haunts the bridge and surrounding area.

Mrs. Hentz was a resident of Columbus, Georgia when she wrote Ernest Linwood. She acknowledged in the forward that she based the book on a true story, but clearly stated that the incident took place "in this town" - meaning Columbus.

Her use of the name "Bellamy" as pseudonyms for the real family that experienced the "burning bride" tragedy undoubtedly contributed to the incorrect belief of Marianna residents that the story took place in their town.

Many residents forgot about Caroline Lee Hentz and her book over time, but the memory of her compelling story merged with the existing ghost legend in local memory. Two stories became one, and the tale of the burning bride was born.

So what is the real story? Elizabeth and Samuel Bellamy were real people, but her death took place three years after their marriage - which took place in North Carolina, not Florida. The couple already had an 18-month old son named Alexander by the time Elizabeth died.

The real story, according to Samuel's surviving letters and obituaries published by newspapers in 1837, is that Elizabeth died of malaria. The horrible fever claimed many lives in the South during the 19th century. Little Alexander died just one week later of the same illness.

Family members buried the two in the cemetery near the bridge where their earthly remains rest to this day.

Samuel, as the legend tells, never recovered from the death of his young wife. He became addicted to alcohol and laudanum (a tincture of opium) and eventually took his own life. He asked that his body be laid to rest alongside Elizabeth, but the request was denied.  Samuel rests in an unmarked grave more than 25 miles away in Chattahoochee, Florida.

The ghost story originated in the years following his death as the story spread of the unfortunate young woman who haunted Bellamy Bridge each night in the desperate hope that her husband would return to her.

Her long wait continues to this day.
The historic steel-frame bridge is at the end of the Bellamy Bridge
Heritage Trail, a one-half mile long interpretive pathway.

Like most ghost stories, the legend of Bellamy Bridge has evolved over time. The oldest written versions appeared in Marianna newspapers in the late 19th century. These accounts noted the recent appearance of the "lady of Bellamy Bridge," an obvious reference to the ghost.

Seniors who grew up in the vicinity told interviewers in the 1980s that they heard of the ghost from their parents, who said the misty figure or specter of a woman in a long dress could be seen walking over and near the bridge. Others told of blue lights that appeared around the Bellamy Bridge at night. All of them associated the ghost with the nearby grave of Elizabeth Bellamy.

The story evolved by the mid-20th century into a tale of how the unfortunate young woman died in a tragic wedding night fire. Elizabeth became known as the "burning bride" and storytellers and reporters told of how her dress came into contact with an open flame on the very night of her marriage to Dr. Samuel C. Bellamy, the brother of Dr. Edward Bellamy.

The young woman's wedding gown burst into flames, according to this version of the story, and she ran from the elegant mansion built as a wedding gift by her new husband, only to be horribly burned. She died a miserable death after promising to love Samuel "forever and always" and was buried near Bellamy Bridge at the family cemetery on Terre Bonne Plantation.

Samuel never recovered from the loss of his beautiful young bride, the story-tellers said, and eventually took his own life. When he failed to return to her in death, the restless spirit of the young woman started to haunt the bridge in nighly hopes of spotting him.

It is an interesting tale but results from a case of mistaken identity. The story as told above actually originated from the 19th century novel Ernest Linwood, or the Long Moss Spring by Caroline Lee Hentz. Mrs. Hentz spent the last days of her life in Marianna and many people incorrectly believed that she wrote the book about the local area. 
The steel framework of Bellamy Bridge dates from 1914. It replaced a series of wooden bridges that dated back to 1850 or earlier.

Bellamy Bridge is no longer accessible by road, but the one-half mile long Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail leads to it. The interpretive pathway begins at a trailhead and parking area off Highway 162 just west of the Chipola River. The address is 4057 Highway 162, Marianna, Florida. 

Please note that Hurricane Michael severely damaged the trail and forced its temporary closure. Repair work will take place this spring and access to the bridge will be available again later this year.

Until the trail has reopened, please enjoy the free documentary at the bottom of this page from our sister company Two Egg TV .

We also recommend historian Dale Cox's book,  The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge .
Thousands of people have attended the annual  Halloween "Ghost Walks" to Bellamy Bridge. They enjoy storytellings and take part in paranormal investigations conducted by Emerald Coast Paranormal Concepts.

Enjoy the story of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge and come along for a ghost hunt in this free documentary from Two Egg TV: