Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Wonder What Happened to Wonder Cave….

Image from
Recently, a coworker and I had to travel to Chattanooga for business. On our way back, we decided to travel a portion of US Highway 41 that parallels Interstate 24. We exited at New Hope and wound our way up Monteagle Mountain. On our descent from the mountain, we entered into the Valley Home Community near Pelham and passed by an old rusty sign beckoning us to visit Wonder Cave. I remember hearing about Wonder Cave as a child, but it’s been closed for several years, which brings me to the question: “I Wonder What Happened to Wonder Cave?”

When I got back home, I did a quick Google search and learned that Wonder Cave was discovered by college students in 1897 by following the Mystic River. Years later, an inn was developed and tourism soon followed. However, I found a Roadside America thread that says it’s been closed for nearly a decade because the family that owns it no longer has anyone willing to operate it. Apparently it reached its tourism hey-day in the mid 1900s when US Highway 41 was the main artery for travel from Miami to Chicago, but the number of tourists dwindled once traffic rerouted to I-24 after its completion in the 1960s. If anyone reading this has memories of visiting Wonder Cave, I’d love to hear them!

1 comment:

  1. Jessica,
    I have not visited Wonder Cave, but as child we saw a barn with Wonder Cave painted on it, kind of like the old See Rock City barns. It was between Memphis and Iuka, Miss. We had a cabin on Pickwick Lake, and drove US 72 many times each summer. As I recall, it did not tell where Wonder Cave was, or may have just listed the Highway. We though it would be in Alabama, or maybe near Chattanoog or the Smokies. I've always wanted to visit it, and only live a couple of hours from Chattanooga.

    My sister stopped by a few years ago, but it was closed. I think I had seen a brochure at a
    interstate information center. I'll try to find that and see if it has a year on it.

    I wonder if the owners would consider selling, if they are not deriving any income from it. We have a cave near Knoxville, which is also closed, but 3 or 4 times a year, the local cave (can't spell speleun....) society gets a little money that way and make improvements as they can. We have a lot of commercial caverns in the area, but it's always nice to have new places to see. It looks like Wonder Cave is in a great position for tourists, being near Chattanooga. All they need is advertising. They appear to be near the interstate.
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