Bluff Dwellers Cavern, in tiny Noel, Mo., down in the southwest corner of the state, will celebrate its 86th anniversary on June 2. IMG_0085

“It’s been in the family since the beginning, and is right next to where Arthur Browning raised his kids,” said Mary Jane Fisher, Cavern manager.

Browning found the cave completely by accident in 1925. Browning was a farmer, and one day when he was out working, he stumbled across it.

“He was out setting traps and felt cold air coming out of a hole covered with mounds of piled dirt,” said Fisher.

After discovering the cave, he called in two surveyors, Bob Ford and Bryan Gilmore, who were employed by the highway department.

“They began excavation and it became apparent that there was a network of subterranean corridors channeling the layers of rock like a subway system,” said Fisher, adding that the cave was opened to the public in 1927, two years after its discovery.

The current owner is Ray Bunch, who is married to one of Browning’s relatives.

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