The Tavern at Gunkel's Mill Bridge

This tavern, perhaps the first in Madison Township, stood on a hill overlooking the Gunkel's Mill bridge, at the place where the Old Franklin-Trenton Road crossed Elk Creek Bridge.

The folktale linked to this old log building describes an eccentric old couple who lived in the rooms above the tavern. They were rumored to have amassed a small fortune and stashed it somewhere on the grounds. When the wife died, two men showed up, claiming to be her relatives. They ran the tavern for a while, and while they were there, the old man disappeared--supposedly back to Maine, where he had family. Soon after the two men departed and abandoned the tavern.

The bridge washed out, and the area became less and less used. Trees and brush retook the grounds of the vacant tavern. Stories were told in the area that the old place was haunted, and that anyone travelling through the valley at night would hear mournful screams emanating from the empty rooms.

It wasn't until many years later, when new owners demolished the log building, that they discovered the cause of the sounds. In a secret section of the cellar, walled off from the rest, they found the skeleton of a man, still chained to an iron bar. When his remains were placed in a coffin and given a proper burial, the eerie night sounds ceased for good.



Crout, George. Madison Township Bicentennial Sketches (1799-1999). 1998.