Saturday, July 16, 2011

Southern Indiana Underground

Explore one of Southern Indiana's underground treasures at Marengo Cave U.S. National Landmark, one of a half dozen public caves in the state.  Several walking tours take visitors through vast rooms of stone formations dripping stalactites and erupting stalagmites. 

 The 40-minute Crystal Palace tour  runs about a third of a mile and passes by Mirror Lake. The Dripstone Trail Tour, a 70-minute, one mile walk,  takes visitors by both Mirror Lake and Looking Glass Lake.

A must stop is the Crystal Palace Room, where a flashing light show accompanies music, in a grand underground theater with stone seats and a stage.

The colored lights illuminated the various stalactites and other geological wonders in what must be the ultimate light show. 

Located near the town of Marengo, the cave has a been a tourist attraction since 1883 when teenagers Orris and Blanche Hiestand slid down a narrow opening at the bottom of sinkhole holding candles to illuminate their way.  What they found was a cave described as being so grand that within days hundreds of locals were visiting the site. 

Samuel Stewart, owner of the and where the cave was found,  reacted by making it available to tourists on a commercial basis. Since then, this cave system has been opened to the public continuously. The Stewart family owned the cave until 1955 and since then it's had just a few owners. To get the feel of what it must have been like for Blanche and Orris, on the walking tours, the cave’s illumination is turned off and candles are lit. Darkness in a cave is so complete  hat one can’t see their hands in front of their face.                                                  

FOR MORE INFORMATION:   Marengo Cave National Landmark: 812-365-2705 or  Follow:

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