Ghost of Bloody 13

Highway 13 or Bloody 13 as it’s known stretched from Clinton, MO south to Springfield, MO. It went through the center of small town America, through towns like Bolivar, Humansville, Brighton and Osceola. Weaving it’s way around sharp blind corners over rock covered hills and through densely wooded land. It was treacherous when wet, deadly when misjudged.

I Spent an afternoon on a lonely stretch of old Highway 13, this particular section was the original alignment of Highway 13, before 2005. Some of it still exists today as a reminder of those death defying days.

If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times, “If this house could talk it surely would have a tale.” This house has seen the deaths of many, I personally have seen the destruction, the aftermath of careless drivers. My father owned and operated a wrecker service out of Bolivar and I went on more than one trip out to this area to pick up an overturned car. It usually was after the ambulance had came to retrieve the victims but that didn’t hide the fact the wreck had taken it’s toll. All the while in the distance this house overlooked everything coming and going.

Highway 13 between Springfield and Bolivar was so dangerous for so long that area residents nicknamed it “Bloody 13”.

The northbound half of the divided highway consists of a section of road built in the 1920s. The accident rate along the northbound side is 3 1/2 times higher than on the southbound side, says Bob Edwards, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Transportation. It was also higher than the statewide rate for similar highways, at the time. he says.

The most dangerous stretch begins just north of Ebenezer, where the north and southbound lanes divide, and ends just north of Slagle, where the lanes merge. That is just south of Bolivar.

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