June 9, 1991 Seneca Caverns
I woke up late on a Sunday morning. After breakfast, Mom suggested we go to Seneca Caverns. I called Elizabeth Keene (Kegley) to tell her all about it. She asked if she could come along. I asked Mom and she said sure!
Mom packed a few things for the outing and then we got gas before heading northwest out of Shelby, Ohio. It was about an hour drive away through endless fields and farms. I was excited when we started seeing signs for the famous Seneca Caverns. We turned from County Road 29 to Lee Road and finally we were there! We turned into the parking lot just before the Flat Rock Cemetery.
First we sat in a basement-like room and watched a brief video about the history of the caverns. Seneca Caverns was discovered in June 1872 by two boys, Peter Rutan and Henry Homer of Flat Rock, Ohio, while hunting rabbits with their dog. Their dog chased a rabbit to a brush pile, where the dog and rabbit then disappeared. The boys dug around the brush pile and discovered an opening, which was actually a natural sinkhole. The boys fell through the opening, landed in the first level of the cave, where they found their dog, and crawled back up to the cave entrance. They then returned home and told everyone about their discovery.
The cave became known as Good’s Cave, for Mr. Emmanuel Good, the owner of the farm on which the cave was located. In 1929, Don and Fannie Bell moved to Bellevue, where Mr. Bell established his law practice. Mr. Bell became interested in caves while taking an elective geology course at the University of Michigan Law School. The course included a field trip to Mammoth Cave area in Kentucky. The great beauty of these underground natural wonders fascinated Mr. Bell and this fascination remained with him all his life. Soon after moving to Bellevue, Mr. Bell heard about Good’s Cave. It was his interest in caves that compelled him to explore the cave with Mr. Good.
In 1931, Mr. Bell discovered a series of passageways and rooms not previously known to exist, which led to an underground river, the water table. With this discovery, Don Bell thought the cave was large enough to develop. Following two and a half year’s improvement effort, Seneca Caverns was opened to the public on May 14, 1933.
Once the video was over, we were led down into the dark caverns below the building we were in. It was wet, small and jagged inside. There was an air of mystery about it and I felt like an explorer even though it was a guided tour with a group of people. The passage dead ended into a small underground river or lake.
The tour guide led us back the surface and we were free to browse the gift shop. The tour had lasted around an hour. We left Seneca Caverns and continued on our journey over to Wellington, Ohio. We ate at McDonalds and headed home from there. It has been an adventure to be sure. It was a long, but fun day. I am exhausted and ready for bed!