Richard Weirich

First Date

The Curtain Room
Endless Caverns

In Chapter VII of IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE, Mable and Charlie go on their first date away from the watchful eye of Mable’s mother, Mary.

Many of us have visited a cavern but what would it have been like to go on that adventure before electric lights?  In May of 1919, Endless Caverns, near New Market, Virginia was in it’s infancy and tours were conducted by candlelight.

Legend has it that the cave was discovered in 1879 by two boys who were rabbit hunting on the Zirkle farm.  When the rabbit they were chasing disappeared into a hole they removed some limestone rocks which revealed a small entrance to a cave.  The boys later returned with ropes and lanterns to get a better look at the cave.  One can only imagine their excitement at making such an amazing discovery.

It wasn’t until 1919 that the caverns were opened to the public which means that Mable Shown and Charlie Polk were among the first visitors.  Don’t know about you but a candlelight tour sounds pretty romantic to me.  Later that year the farm was sold and electric lights were installed in 1920.

I first toured Endless Caverns in the 1960s and it was impressive.  Now, I’m not a travel agent but if you’re ever in the area, check it out.  You’ll be glad you did.

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