12 miles north of Wichita,
sits the small town of Valley Center. Now having a population of
a little more than 5,000 residents, the settlement was born in 1872 on
the banks of the Little
River. Located along the ever important railroad, the town grew
to include a post office, three stores, two blacksmith shops, a grain
elevator, and several homes by the early 1880’s.
Though now a bedroom community to nearby
Wichita commuters, one of biggest attractions in this quiet town is
that of the haunted Theorosa Bridge, also known as the 109th
Street Bridge and the Crybaby Bridge.
On an old country
road three miles north of town on Meridian Street, this old bridge
spans Jester Creek at the intersection with 109th street.
There are several
legends about the haunting of this bridge all based on a baby drowned
in the creek below. Today, the bridge is a simple concrete
bridge that normally no one would pay any attention to, except for the
The first legend
tells of settlers who were passing through the area in the late 19th
century when they were attacked by Indians and a baby named Theorosa
was kidnapped. Her grief-stricken mother was said to have left
the wagon train to search for her missing daughter and reportedly
continues to look today as her mournful cry can still be heard calling
out for her child.
Another legend has it
that a skirmish between the cavalry and an Indian tribe living by the
creek occurred about this time. In this version, an Indian woman
is stabbed and her baby is dropped into the creek and drowned.
Yet another tale suggests that a woman named Theorosa is a young woman
who has an illegitimate baby and drowns it in Jester Creek to hide her
shame. Later, overcome by guilt, she drowns herself in the creek
Finally, another tells of
an engaged woman who fell in love with another man and bore his child. Jealous with rage, her fiancé reportedly through the baby over the bridge
into the creek and Theorosa jumped off the bridge to save her baby, but
drowned herself, instead.
In any event, the bridge
has reported to have been haunted for years and years. Many have
reported seeing floating balls of light, eerie shapes, and the apparition
of a woman in the area around the bridge. Cars are said to
mysteriously stall as they cross, or if they should stop, will feel the
entire vehicle begin to shake. Others report cold breezes which
seemingly come from nowhere, and the sounds of mournful voices or the
chilling cries of a baby.
Yet others say that the
weather is consistently different at the bridge than it is in the rest of
the area. Rumor has it that if you call out to Theorosa, telling her
that you have her baby, she’ll come out of the water and attack you.
The original iron and wood bridge that first
stood at Jester Creek for decades burned down in 1974, was rebuilt, and
was destroyed by fire again in 1976. Afterwards, it was closed for
the next fifteen years. However, in 1991, the road was reopened and
the current concrete bridge was built that continues to serve travelers
across the creek.
of America, updated May, 2010.