Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail - Jackson Co., Florida
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail - Jackson Co., Florida
Bellamy Bridge
The historic steel-frame bridge was completed in
1914 and is the second oldest bridge of its type in
Florida. It is the focal point of a popular ghost story.
Bellamy Bridge
The historic bridge spans the
Chipola River near Marianna,
Florida, and is one of the 10
oldest bridges in the state.
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail
The scenic trail follows the
original earthen causeway
leading to the west end of the
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail - Jackson County, Florida
History, Nature and Folklore
Copyright 2012 & 2013 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: May 29, 2013
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Historic Bellamy Bridge
The heritage trail ends at the
west end of Bellamy Bridge,
where the Ghost of Bellamy
Bridge has been seen for
Upper Chipola River
The trail is a great place for
people to learn about and
enjoy the scenic beauty of
Florida's stunning Upper
Chipola River.
The Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail is a
multi-use trail that links historic Bellamy
Bridge with County Road 162 (Jacob Road)
in Jackson County, Florida.

Located on the Upper Chipola River north of
Marianna, the historic bridge is the second
oldest structure of its type in Florida and is
one of the ten oldest bridges in the state. It is
the focal point of one of the Sunshine State's
best known ghost stories.

The legend of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge
revolves around the 19th century death of a
young woman named Elizabeth Jane Croom
Bellamy. Her restless spirit is supposedly
seen in the river swamps surrounding the
bridge and the story of her tragic death has
been retold for many decades and in many

Please click here to learn more about the
Ghost of Bellamy Bridge.

In addition to its connection to the significant
folk tale, Bellamy Bridge is a noteworthy
historic site. It spans the scenic Chipola
River at a historic crossing that has been in
use for more than 300 years.

The first recorded crossing of the Chipola at
the bridge site, in fact, was made by the
Spanish expedition of Marcos Delgado in
September 1686.

Having been ordered to investigate reports of
French intrusion on Spanish lands, Delgado
Mission San Luis at what is now
Tallahassee and moved west into the Florida
Panhandle. His Indian guides led him over
the Apalachicola River to
Blue Springs in
what is now Jackson County. After a brief
stop for water, his party marched northwest
to the Chipola River at today's Bellamy Bridge

In his journal, Delgado described how he
and his men were led through a trackless
wilderness around the head of today's
Baltzell Springs Group. They approached the
Chipola through river cane with stalks up to
six inches in thickness:

Continuing to the Northwest...there is a clayey
swamp and in its center a stream which has
36 feet of width and a depth of 6 feet and the
swamp itself has half a league of breadth. It
is thick and it was necessary to cut the path.
Marcos Delgado (January 5, 1687).

The Spanish explorers encountered buffalo
(American bison) the first time not long after
they crossed the Chipola. They returned by
the same route several weeks later.

The trail opened by Delgado continued to be
used by Native American hunters over the
decades that followed. By the late 1700s, the
vicinity had become a cattle range for the
Lower Creek Indians of Ekanachatte ("Red
Ground"), an important village on the
Chattahoochee River.

The warriors of the town took part in the First
Seminole War against the United States in
1817-1818. Their cattle herds were raided by
U.S.-allied Creek Indians led by William
McIntosh in March 1818 and a sharp fight
took place on the Upper Chipola somewhere
near today's Bellamy Bridge site.

With the end of the war, the first American
settlers began to drift into what is now
Jackson County. One group of these planted
a settlement on Spring Creek near
Campbellton in 1819. Needing a road to
connect their settlement with
Fort Scott in
southwestern Georgia, they reopened
Delgado's old trace as far as its Chipola
River crossing and then built a new road on
to the fort.

The surviving portion of this road passes
through nearby Greenwood today and is
known as the Fort Road. Some believe the
name originated because the trace once led
to Fort Scott, although it is also possible that
the name originated because Isaac Fort
settled at the Bellamy Bridge site in the early
The original Fort Plantation was bought by
Dr. Edward C. Bellamy during the 1830s and
the crossing was used to connect the farm
with the nearby Rock Cave Plantation of his
brother, Dr. Samuel Bellamy. It was the latter
individual, in fact, who built the first wooden
bridge at the site in 1844.

Dr. Samuel C. Bellamy, for whom Bellamy
Bridge was named, was the husband of
Elizabeth Bellamy, the young woman around
whom the ghost story revolves. A noteworthy
individual of his day, he served as a delegate
to the Florida Constitutional Convention in
1838 and later as Clerk of Courts for Jackson
County and Secretary of the Florida Supreme
Court. He committed suicide in 1853.

The original Bellamy Bridge was washed
away by flooding before the Civil War and
replaced by a similar structure built by Dr.
Horace Ely. The second bridge was elevated
and an earthen causeway built to provide
easier and drier access to it. Other wooden
bridges followed, each of them known as
Bellamy Bridge.

The current steel-frame bridge was built in
1914 and will mark the 100th anniversary of
its construction in 2014. It is the second
oldest bridge of its type in Florida and one of
the ten oldest bridges in the state.

The steel structure served travelers until the
early 1960s when it was replaced by the
concrete structure still in use today. The
concrete bridge is located a short distance
upstream from the old bridge and over time
the roads leading to the historic structure
were closed and public access was lost.

The Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail was
officially opened to the public on November 1,
2012 and is now open daily. The project is a
cooperative venture of the Friends of Bellamy
Bridge, Jackson County and the Northwest
Florida Water Management District.

The trail includes interpretive signs, benches
and an observation platform at the bridge
itself. There is no cost to visit and the site is
open to the public daily during daylight hours.

Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail is located at
4057 Jacob Road, Marianna, Florida. Jacob
Road is also known as Highway 162.

To learn more about the trail, please visit The site features a
printable trail map, printable trail guide and
other information.  A trail map and other
information is also available at an kiosk at
the trail parking lot.

Announcements for special events can be
followed and a number of "ghost photos"
seen at the trail's Facebook page,
Ghosts & Monsters of the South
Ghost of Bellamy Bridge
The historic bridge is a focal
point of the legend of the
Ghost of Bellamy Bridge.
Click the photo to learn more.