If you’re into the “spirit world,” there is a haunted bridge in Gettysburg that should be on your bucket list.
The Sachs Covered Bridge is considered one of the most haunted bridges in the United States—and you’ll see why when you read this post.
Make sure you take time to find out about the ghosts that haunt the Sachs bridge in Gettysburg before your visit!
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What Were Covered Bridges Built For?
When I was growing up there were six or seven covered bridges in Adams County, Pennsylvania, where Gettysburg is located.
Unfortunately, there is only one remaining covered bridge besides Sachs Covered Bridge. Jack’s Mountain Covered Bridge is a one-lane bridge that is still open to vehicular traffic.
Covered bridges are very familiar to me since they were a regular part of my daily commute, but younger people may never have seen one or know why they were built.
Covered bridges are exactly what they sound like—a bridge over a body of water that has sides and a roof.
The first covered wooded bridge in the United States dates back to 1803 when Timothy Palmer oversaw the design of a bridge over the Schuylkill River.
It was not until the bridge was almost complete that investors asked the builder to cover the bridge to protect their money. Palmer modified the design to add a roof and siding to protect the interior wood from the weather.
That bridge came to be known as the Permanent Bridge.
There were reportedly about 14,000 covered bridges built in the U.S., mostly between 1825 to 1875.
The longest covered bridge ever built was constructed in nearby Lancaster County in 1814. It spanned more than a mile, but was destroyed by flooding and ice in 1832.
In the 1800s, wooden bridges were replaced by iron, which was cheaper and more durable, not needing the sides and roof. The weight limits of wooden bridges and their low clearances also led to their general demise.
Sachs Covered Bridge History
Built in 1854, the Sachs covered bridge spans Marsh Creek just south of Gettysburg.
The haunted bridge is 100 feet long and 15 feet wide. It’s amazing to see the interior construction design, known as Town Lattice Truss. (Named after its designer Ithiel Town).
As you can see from the picture, the wooden beams are crisscrossed to form a lattice which gives the bridge its structural integrity when being crossed by wagons or horses.
The unique craftsmanship and engineering of the covered bridge reportedly came at a price of $1,544 in 1854. (Imagine that!)
Sachs Bridge in Gettysburg received the designation of “Pennsylvania’s Most Historic Covered Bridge” in 1938. The haunted bridge was closed to vehicles in 1968 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
On June 19, 1996, a flash flood swept through after a strong thunderstorm that dumped more than 10 inches of rain in a few hours. The resulting flood water knocked the bridge from one of its abutments.
This occurred at the same time a $500,000 restoration was in progress. An additional $100,000 was raised to repair the flood damage, and the Gettysburg covered bridge was rededicated on July 21, 1997.
The Ghosts Behind The Haunted Bridge In Gettysburg
So everyone always asks me, “Is Sachs Covered Bridge haunted?”
You might want to hear the answer from the people who have visited this haunted bridge in Gettysburg. There are literally thousands of accounts of supernatural activity at Sachs Bridge.
The reasons behind the haunted bridge are numerous. First of all, the covered bridge in Gettysburg played a key role during the Civil War.
Union forces crossed Sachs Covered Bridge (also called Sauck’s Covered Bridge) on July 1, 1863 as they headed toward Gettysburg.
Three days later, Confederate forces who were retreating from the Gettysburg battlefield also crossed the bridge.
The most popular legend behind the haunting of the covered bridge is that three Confederate soldiers were hung from the trusses of the structure.
There are two theories as to why the soldiers were hung. The first being that the Confederate soldiers deserted their unit, and were caught.
The other theory suggests that the three soldiers were actually spies, and they were hung from the bridge. No one knows where this story came from as there are no historical accounts of the occurrence.
Nonetheless, many visitors have claimed to see full bodied apparitions of the soldiers, experienced strange touching and hair-pulling, and heard eerie voices. I’ve also read posts about visitors hearing the clip-clop of horses hooves crossing the bridge.
Here is a short clip of a ghostly sighting. You decide!
The Smoking Sachs Bridge Ghost
Another strange phenomenon that occurs at the haunted bridge in Gettysburg is the smoking ghost.
When visitors place a cigarette on the metal railing outside the bridge, it spins and appears that someone is taking a puff. Some claim that this smoking Sachs Bridge ghost even has a name—Tennessee.
Others have reported the strong smell of pipe tobacco as if a sentry is still walking on patrol.
I don’t know. What do you think?
Nature Trail At Sachs Bridge
The Sachs Covered Bridge is not only known for its ghosts and hauntings. The beautiful structure is a memorable place to visit for both its beauty and its history.
It is also a favorite fishing hole for locals.
There is a walking trail that winds along Marsh Creek to a low dam and a charming area to relax and cool off on a hot summer day.
Finding The Haunted Bridge In Gettysburg
The Sachs Covered Bridge in Gettysburg PA is a little hard to find, but worth the effort. Here are detailed directions.
Heading South on the Emmitsburg Road from Gettysburg, turn right at the Peach Orchard battlefield site onto Millerstown Road. This turns into Pumping Station Road.
After you pass Black Horse Tavern Road on your right, keep your eyes open for Roberta Way on your left, and turn there. You will then take a right onto Waterworks Road, which takes you to a small parking area. This side of the bridge has a wheelchair champ.
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If you miss your turn on Roberta Way, don’t worry. Travel another mile-ish until you cross a bridge. (If you look left while crossing, you’ll see the Sachs Covered Bridge).
Turn left immediately after the bridge and you will be taken to the parking lot.
The walking path is also straight ahead of you when entering on this side.
Wrap-Up Of Sachs Covered Bridge In Gettysburg
Sachs Covered Bridge stands today as a true touchstone to the past, as well as a place of remarkable beauty and serenity.
This haunted crossing has witnessed both war and peace over its 150+ years, and is now a visible reminder of the past.
Even though the 100-foot span once heard the footsteps of soldiers, it is now known only for the soothing sounds of the waters that flow beneath its wooden beams.
Gettysburg resident Mark Nesbit, author of the popular series of books called Ghosts of Gettysburg, says that acre for acre Gettysburg is probably the most haunted place in the United States.
The haunted Sachs Covered Bridge is just one of the many sites in Gettysburg with ghostly activity. If you want to stay at a haunted Gettysburg bed and breakfast, try The Academy. This building was used as a hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg.
I hope you enjoy your visit to Gettysburg and to the haunted Sachs Covered Bridge!
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The Daniel Lady Farm in Gettysburg (Haunted)