Stop #9 American Cave Museum - Narrator: 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 1940's until a regional sewage treatment system was developed in the 1990's. 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.