Our Lincoln Highway National Heritage Byway coordinator’s top 11 choices for haunts along or near the Lincoln Highway in Iowa:
#11) Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridge is just south of Lake City (14 miles north of the Lincoln Highway at Glidden). This haunted bridge has a ghost after my own heart. It is said that if you visit this bridge at night and leave a candy bar (particularly chocolate) on the road, that the chocolate will be gone the next day but the wrapper will still be completely intact and unopened. Once I am gone, please leave Reese’s Peanut butter cups, and I will come visit!
#10) The Boone News Republican Building, Downtown Boone
Workers at night would hear footsteps running on stairs or hear their name called when the place was empty. The historic building was to be renovated and made into apartments in the fall of 2023.
#9) Riverside Cemetery, Marshalltown
There is a concrete chair in the cemetery that looks like wood. If you dare to sit upon it, you will have bad luck or even die within the year.
#8) Coe College, Cedar Rapids
Getting a good night’s sleep at this college has been challenging for some due to a ghost’s midnight antics. Helen, who was a victim of the influenza outbreak of 1918, is said to haunt the campus. She likes to come out at night and play piano in the parlor or take the covers off of students while they are sleeping.
#7) Granger House, Marion
It has been said that the white figure of a young woman can be seen sitting in front of a window at midnight.
wdd#6) Periwinkle Place Manor, Chelsea
The 3-story, 9-bedroom inn occupies a former funeral home that operated from 1892-2003. Now, the manor is a bed and breakfast that hosts events such as murder mystery dinners, weddings, concerts, wine tasting, and of course ghost hunters.
#5) Farrar Elementary Schoolhouse, Maxwell
(approximately 17 miles south of Lincoln Highway) Jim and Nancy Oliver purchased the abandoned schoolhouse in 2006, in hopes of making it their home. While working on the soon-to-be home, Nancy, after becoming unbalanced on the stairs, felt someone helping her. She assumed it was her husband. She turned only to see a small boy standing on the step, only to disappear a full two seconds later. Visited by dozens of paranormal groups and individuals.
#4) Black Angel Statue, Fairview Cemetery, Council Bluffs.
Built as a memorial to General Dodge’s wife, Anne, the statue’s eyes follow those who look upon her. Many people believe that those who touch the sculpture may be cursed. Others have said that the angel flies off the pedestal at night. Other haunted locations in the area include General Dodge’s House, the Lewis and Clark Monument, and the old library that is now the Union Pacific Museum.
#3) Farm House Museum at Iowa State University. The Farm House is believed to be haunted by two women, Edith Curtiss and Esther Wilson. It is thought that Edith Curtiss will open closed curtains on the second floor every night while the house is locked up. Every morning the curtains will be open even if they were held by safety pins. Esther will turn flatware to a 45-degree angle; the curators have since sewn down the silverware to the tablecloths so that they cannot be moved. Many other locations on the campus are also haunted, including Shattuck Theater, C.Y. Stephens Auditorium, the Gold Star Hall, and several dorm buildings.
#2) Squirrel Cage Jail, Council Bluffs
This one-of-a-kind, three-story jail was in use from 1885-1969. One of eighteen revolving jails in the US, the floors were divided into dark and damp pie-shaped cells that were extremely small. The jail is said to be haunted by former jailers, the original construction supervisor, a woman, and even a little girl and two ghost cats.
#1) The Black Angel Monument, Oakland Cemetery, Iowa City
Angels in cemeteries are almost always positioned looking upward as if toward heaven; however, the angel monument at Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City was created with the face looking downward and the wings poised over the graves below. Since the eight-and-a-half-foot-tall burial monument was erected over 85 years ago, it has been the subject of many stories and legends. A once golden or perhaps ivory color, the monument is now completely black and has gained the reputation that kissing, touching, defiling, or even staring at the angel too long will bring about a terrible accident, disease, miscarriage, or death. Even so, the angel attracts thrill seekers who can’t help but tempt fate and the Angel of Death.