Ghost of the Meramec - The Lynching of John Buckner
1894, in Valley Park,
A black resident named John Buckner was taken from the authorities and
hanged from the "Old Wagon Bridge" over the
Meramec River. The story goes that he had sexually assaulted 2 black women and 1 white
woman in the area, and after a crime wave in the County of
St. Louis, 150
citizens from the surrounding areas removed Buckner from the custody of
local authorities, took him in the middle of the night to the main bridge
in Valley Park, and lynched him.
The town was becoming a boom-town on its way "to
rivaling its better known neighbor of
--until a flood in 1915 pulled down the three-span steel bridge from
its foundations. The nearby businesses burned to the ground after the
electric plants had been flooded, and they never re-opened. Two
Thousand people were left homeless and unemployed, and several drowned
in the disaster. A new bridge was built, and was pummeled again and
again, until it too was destroyed. Many locals say that a ghost haunts
and some have speculated that the spirit of the lynched John Buckner
where a new bridge (Highway 141) crosses over the spot of the
lynching. They say his ghost longs for revenge on the town, and
is the continuing cause of the bad luck their town has endured.
Submitted by Joseph Wood, June,
2005. Mr. Wood is the author of
The Shadow of the Bridge,
(2005). To learn more about this incident, please read his book.
Girls at the Edgewood Children's Center
Located in the southwest
suburb of Webster Groves, sits the historic Edgewood Children’s
Center. Today the center serves as a treatment center for abused
and abandoned children; however, the center has a long history dating
back almost 175 years. In 1834, the
St. Louis Association of
Ladies for the Relief of Orphan Children was created in response to
the many children left orphaned by the 1832 cholera epidemic. After expanding their facilities and services in 1848, the name was
changed to the
St. Louis Protestant Orphans'
In 1869, the group merged with the
Western Sanitary Commission, a volunteer organization designed to
provide relief for veterans of the Civil War. As a result of the
merger, the group moved from its north
St. Louis location to the
Rock House in Webster Groves, originally the sight of Webster College
School for Boys purchased by the Western Sanitary Commission in 1861.
The Rock House, sitting
in the middle of the new 23 acre site already had history of its own. Constructed in 1850 by Reverend Artemus
Bullard, the preacher successfully operated a seminary for young men
in the Rock House until his untimely death in a train wreck in 1855.
It is known that Reverend Bullard was a strong abolitionist, and is
believed that he used the Rock House as a way station in the
Underground Railroad, helping to move slaves into safety in the north.
It was believed that a tunnel, several blocks long, ran beneath the
Rock House acting as a hiding place for slaves escaping to the north.
The exit was sealed off in the 1890's after two children became lost
in it and died.
In 1910, a devastating
fire gutted the old Rock House and at least one child perished in the
fire. Though the interior was destroyed, the lovely stone exterior
was not damaged
Changing the name from
Protestant Orphan's Asylum to Edgewood Children's Center in 1944, the
agency successfully bridged the transition from the care of homeless
children to meeting the needs of emotionally disturbed children. Today the
155 year old Rock house is listed as a National Historic Landmark and
houses the Edgewood Center’s offices.
comes as no surprise, with the center's long history and the numerous
children who have lived and died on these premises that it is reportedly
haunted. Many have claimed that they have seen the ghost of the little
girl who perished at the Rock House fire in 1910. Said to be a
friendly little spirit, the staff have fondly named her Rachel. Often the sounds of footsteps are heard in the hallways of the Rock House
when no one is present. Furthermore, the footsteps are heard to
continue up a staircase that stood almost a century ago but no longer
exists today. Reports from adults who have lived on the second floor
include moving objects, more phantom footfalls, and feelings of an