photo by Ron

Location
Old Alton Road by Teasley Lane
Established
1884

Old Alton Bridge (sometimes called Goatman's Bridge - see below) is a historic iron through-truss bridge connecting the cities of Denton, Texas and Copper Canyon, Texas. Built in 1884, by the King Iron Bridge Manufacturing Company, it originally carried horses and later automobiles over Hickory Creek at a location that once was a popular ford for crossing cattle. The bridge takes its name from the abandoned community of Alton, which between 1850-1856 was the seat of Denton County.

The heavily traveled Old Alton Bridge remained in constant use until 2001 when vehicle traffic was moved to an adjacent concrete-and-steel bridge. Prior to the new bridge, it was necessary for motorists to signal with a car horn before crossing the single lane span. The new bridge straightened out a sharp curve on both sides of the creek and provided additional travel lanes.

With vehicle traffic removed, the bridge became an important link connecting the Elm Fork and Pilot Knoll Hiking and Equestrian Trails. Today, it is a popular location for nature enthusiasts and photographers. Old Alton Bridge was included in the National Register of Historic Places, July 8, 1988.

Goatman's Bridge Myth

The following is a completely unsubstantiated local myth surrounding the bridge, which claims it is haunted. Curious teenagers like to attend the bridge in hopes of encountering the legendary ghost.

The turn of the century brought a black goat farmer and his family to a residence just North of the bridge, and a few short years later, Oscar Washburn was known as a dependable, honest businessman. North Texans endearingly began to call him the Goatman. But the success of a black man was still unwelcome, and Klansmen in the local government turned to violence after he displayed a sign on Alton Bridge: "this way to the Goatman's".

One night in August 1938, with their headlights off, Klansmen crossed the bridge, dragged the Goatman from his family, and lynched him over the side. Peering over into the water, his murderers saw a rope, but not his body. In a panic, the Klansman returned to the Washburn residence, and killed his family in cold blood.

Since the disappearance of the Goatman there have been many strange sightings on and near Old Alton Bridge. Some say his spirit still haunts these woods. Locals tell the story and follow it with a warning: those who cross the bridge with no headlights will be met on the other side by the Goatman.

After numerous abandoned automobiles and missing persons, a new bridge was constructed directly upstream. But Old Alton Bridge, the Goatman's Bridge, remains still open to foot traffic. It is under surveillance by the Paranormal Investigators of North Texas and the Denton County Paranormal Investigators who consistently report strange activity and experiences.

Other versions and variations of The Goatman's origins include a pre-bridge lynching during the 1860 "Texas Troubles," a demonic satyr conjured by Satanic rituals, or the child-stealing Goatman's Wife who stalks the surrounding woods.

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