Robberson. Only a concrete slab and entrance structure remained. It stands along what was bustling U.S. 65, a road that is much quieter since the highway was rerouted years ago. But he never lost touch with the Manns. For many years of its operation, Crystal Caverns was the most prominent tourist attraction in the Cassville area. ... we broke out of our normal Sunday for a long but rewarding drive to kayak the caves in Crystal City. It is spectacular. Plot twist: Funkhouser was the daughter of William Funkhouser, the fellow who was long-engaged to Ada Mann in their youth. Fishing, etc. 6 Caves Near St. Louis That Are Like Entering Another World. We were greeted by our guide with a friendly smile. Anyone who appreciates our natural world would love it here. Beyond the Fossil Room, through a low, muddy, belly-crawl lies the Enchanted Forest, a small room with the cave’s largest, most spectacular flowstone and a profusion of delicate soda straws, helictites, calcite wings and columns. Someone, who even though not related by blood, was nearly family: A woman named Estle Funkhouser, who was willed the cave upon the sisters’ death. It opened in 1893. After being reminded of its presence by that billboard, my curiosity took hold and I spent some time reading about it. The cave is also noted for its pure white stalactites and the impressive speleothems that adorn the Queen’s Attic. & H. Mine. Preserving and Protecting Missouri’s Karst Resources since 1992. As the years passed, the girls’ names became synonymous with Crystal Cave,” wrote H. Dwight Weaver in “Missouri Caves in History and Legend.”. At an age when most men settle into rocking chairs Loyd continues to take pick and shovel to create stairs and open passageways to cave rooms previously accessible only through narrow crawl spaces. Devils Well (1954) - Shannon County. None of the trio ever married. “I would not advise anyone to undertake the commercialization of a cave in this day and age for a whole host of reasons,” he says, citing obstacles such as physical location. From the Zillow listing: Click here to see the listing for the cave, as well as other photos of the natural wonder. 700 Crystal Ave, Crystal City, MO 63019. Best nearby. She had been hospitalized for a year and a half after fracturing her hip. Private Cave tours with your family. It is currently owned by descendants of the Richardsons. Caves. The entrance, enclosed by a small gift shop and administration building sat within a heavily forested area that stretched for many acres, north, west and east of the parking lot. The same year, an advertisement in the Springfield Daily Leader announced that automobiles could be rented (in days when few individuals owned cars) to visit several points of note around the Springfield area, including Crystal Cave along with Paris Springs, Ingram’s Mill, Club House, James River, Valley Water Mill, Ozark and a tour around the city that included Doling Park and Elfindale. To see this page as it is meant to appear, please enable your Javascript! The building leading to the Crystal Cave was located on the northeast corner of Fourth Street. By early 1999, all surface structures on the property vanished, along with the water supply and electrical service. The trees around the entrance had been crudely logged, leaving tree segments, tree tops and lots of brush among the stumps. The reason to call ahead is that the cave is a privately owned operation. Alfred Mann died in December 1925. Missouri has thousands of caves across the state, and St. Louis is known for the many caves beneath our streets that were used to keep food and beverages (mostly beer) cool before modern refrigeration was invented.The caves under St. Louis are not accessible to the public and many have had their entrances closed as highways and … “I was probably one of the last people to be invited into the home of the three Mann sisters back in the 1960s,” he says. He still builds railing, strings lights and hauls chat into the cave to lay down on passageways. Digital facsimile of mining map housed at Missouri Southern State University Spiva Library Archives Dept. 69 Restaurants within 5 miles. Crystal Caverns – Barry County, Missouri. Crystal Cave could be reopened for tours again. GeoSTRAT – Locate cave density throughout Missouri using this online tool. Crystal Caverns also has a few cave salamanders that live in its entrance passage. >> More. The designation, another article notes, was official in 1992. It's just a short drive north of Branson. Magazine, March 1987, “Crystal Cave nears historic status,” Mike Penprase, Springfield News-Leader, June 12, 1990, “Edith Lois Richardson,” obituary, Springfield News-Leader, May 9, 2011, “Estle Funkhouser,” obituary, Springfield News-Leader, Oct. 22, 1995, “Event reminds we’re in cave state,” Hank Billings, Springfield News-Leader, Nov. 11, 2006, “Fourth of July picnic,” Springfield Republican, June 30, 1899, “Land sales,” Springfield Leader, Aug. 30, 1892, “Last of Mann sisters dies,” Springfield Daily News, June 23, 1969. Although the Crystal Cave is only 5 miles from Highway 44, it is still disappointing to arrive and find that the cave is closed for the day. One daughter did come relatively close to wedding: Shortly after moving to the cave, Ada became engaged to a local boy named William Funkhouser. What an interesting story, Kaitlyn! (And if that person is you, let me know so I can write a follow-up story as soon as the deal is done.). Bridal Cave (1948) - Camden County. It seems Estle Funkhouser embraced her new role, even though she was already busy as a local leader in education. The book is only $25 (with free shipping) and features photos and short stories about the destinations. “During a tour of the cave passages and subterranean chambers Monday, board members agreed the cave merits recognition for its role in promoting Ozarks tourism at the turn of the century,” stated a News-Leader article in 1990. “Alfred Mann dies,” Springfield Leader, Dec. 31, 1925, “Buried treasure,” Bob McEowen, Rural Missouri, September 2004, “Burned by a lamp explosion,” Springfield Republican, May 8, 1900, “Cave co-owner, Agnes Mann, 85, dies in hospital,” Springfield Leader and Press, Dec. 23, 1960, “Close-to-home vacation options abound in Ozarks,” Ada Snavely, Springfield News-Leader, July 1, 2009, “Criminal,” Springfield Leader, April 16, 1892, “Crystal Cave,” Springfield Daily Leader, Aug. 24, 1905, “Crystal Cave: Greene County’s best kept tourism secret,” Hayward Barnett, Springfield! The listing also includes a home built in 1891. Jeep-drawn trams take guests through Fantastic Caverns. According to one article, Mann purchased the cave property the same year he came to Springfield. For me, the cave’s history tells quite a story — especially considering the connections it passed through over time. Please indicate the purpose of your donation in the memo field on Paypal. Groups limited to 10 people total. Another account says the family was living at the cave when young Willie was killed. It previously was called Jenkins Cave; before that, I am unsure if or how Native Americans referred to the cave during their use of it. There are sinkholes, prairies, and glades. This map shows the location of Crystal Cave, and its position in relation to the C.M. It has been speculated that their father was controlling, perhaps because of the tragedy that befell his son. Your party must abide by all rules set in place by Crystal Lake Cave to assure your personal safety and the safety of our employees and cave. Crystal Cave isn’t the natural wonder’s first name. (KY3) - A car has been pulled from a ditch off Highway KK near Crystal Cave north of Springfield. I spoke with Philip Grafft, the realtor managing the sale of the property, who confirmed that the listing still is active. Five years later, his wife died as well, leaving the three daughters to run the cave. Much of the operation, however, eventually seems to have fallen to his three daughters. Description. She continued giving tours until she was around 88 years old. This show cave is also one of the few mom and pop operations left in Missouri. It was not until 2016 that the survey (2944 feet)  and map were completed. I cannot overstate how gorgeous this area of the country is. I stumbled upon the fact that it was for sale while on the Zillow internet site, where I saw a listing for the property. If you are interested in learning more about caves, going on a tour, or going spelunking, follow the links below. In 1994, Crystal Caverns was in its 65th and final year as a show cave operation. Crystal Caverns is most noted for an impressive display of aragonite crystals with extremely fragile needle-like growths. This course is currently open to the public only on: Fri: 7pm - midnight Sat: 1pm - midnight Sun: 1pm - 5pm or by appointment for large groups. I’m not a geologist, so I can’t begin to explain the special features of the cave (although one article from 1987 claimed that a replica of one of the cave’s unique formations, nicknamed the “Washington Monument,” is in the Smithsonian). “If you have lots of time and money to invest, however, and do not have to make a living from the operation, then that is a different matter,” he says. But let’s refocus. I moved here in 87 and should have went and toured. 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