Ohio Caverns – West Liberty, Ohio - Atlas Obscura

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Ohio Caverns

These sub-farmland caves are home to a majestic stalactite known as the "Crystal King." 


Underneath the farmlands of western Ohio, The Crystal King reigns in Ohio Caverns, with over two miles of surveyed passages.

The caverns were discovered in 1897 by a farmhand, Robert Noffsinger, who was investigating why a sinkhole that filled with water during a long rain then emptied the next day. An underground river was situated in the caverns, carving out various chambers and depositing vast quantities of mud in its wake. After the initial discovery became Mt. Tabor Cave Tours and unscrupulous tourists took out crystals and wrote their names on the walls, the original landowner sold the land to Allen and Ira Smith, who with a crew took three years to clean up the mud in the further reaches of the caverns, lengthening the tour from a quarter-mile to over two miles.

The tour shows the chambers, called “Fantasyland,” “The Big Room,” “The Jewel Room,” and “Palace of the Gods.” One of the highlighted formations is “The Crystal King,” a pure white stalactite that is almost five feet long and an estimated 200,000 years old.

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August 19, 2014

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