Listen to the Cellphone Audio for Stop #9
spoken by Dave Foster

In the past, Hidden River Cave had a reputation as one of the most polluted caves in America. The cave belonged to Dr. Thomas. His arch rival, Clarence Owens, owned the Owens Hotel and a service station. The hotel’s sewage and the service station’s oil traps emptied underground into Hidden River Cave. Thomas sued Owens, but at that time, there were no anti-pollution laws, so Owens won. To make matters worse, the town’s entire sewage system dumped into the cave. The cave entrance had such a horrible odor that the cave was closed to the public from the 1940s until a regional sewage treatment system was developed in the 1990s. When the cave re-opened in 1993, there was still work to be done. The American Cave Conservation Association saw the opportunity to educate the public about a problem cave. We’ve been able to clean Hidden River Cave and to develop an educational center and museum with tours into the cave seven days a week.


Next Stop: Stop #10
– Horse Cave State Bank Building


Stop #9 – American Cave Museum

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Oral Histories about the
“American Cave Museum”

Sandra T. Wilson, Executive Director, Horse Cave/Hart County
Tourism Commission

“Built for spite”


Dave Foster, Director,
American Cave Museum

“American cave conservation”

“The American Cave Museum and tours”

“The Floyd Collins Fest”