Cosmic Cavern celebrates 175th anniversary of discovery
On Sept. 4, 1845, John Moore and his two sons were in the area prospecting for lead in the mountains of Indian Creek, just north of Berryville, when they came across a cave. They did not find the lead they were looking for; however, they did name the cave after themselves. Arkansas’ largest show cave began as “Moore’s Cave.” It’s had many names since then, including Bear Cave, Maple Springs Cave, Joe Johnson Cave at Sycamore Hollow, Majestic Cave, Mystic Cave, Mystery Cave and now Cosmic Cavern.
Following the Moores, early explorers found the floor of the first chamber below the 200-foot opening and then discovered a subterranean lake. In the 1880s, the Ewell family homesteaded above the cave and mined “Cave Onyx,” from which they carved little figurines and jewelry and sold it in Eureka Springs.
In the 1920s, the mining was resumed by teenage boys. They shipped the cave onyx by train to become the gear-shift knob of the Model A Ford. In 1927, a stairway into the cave was built for the first cave tours to begin. Through the years more and more of the cave was discovered and developed, but the biggest discovery was in 1993, when Randy Langhover, owner since 1980, discovered a whole new section of the cave, more than 1,000 feet, and another subterranean lake. This doubled the tour through Cosmic Cavern and added a whole new experience featuring the “Oh My God” room, named after Randy’s words upon discovery. This new section was featured by CBS and also filmed by Imax for the Branson theater.
This is just a little of Cosmic Cavern’s history in a nutshell. There are so many wonderful stories and tales of Cosmic Cavern dating back 175 years! Arkansas’ largest privately owned show cave offers guided tours.
Cosmic Cavern is located at 6386 Arkansas Highway 21, northeast of Berryville and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, call 870-749-2298.