Let's talk a little about Lost River Cave. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this cave was discovered by American Indians along with the valley that formed when a large cave system collapsed. Lost River Cave was the site of a water-powered mill in the 19th century and a popular night club in the mid-20th century. Lost River is deemed to be the world's shortest and deepest river, measuring at least 437 feet deep and running for only 350 feet before disappearing into one of the country's largest cave entrances. Walking and float tours are available. Nature trails feature over 50 species of trees and flowers, some of which were thought to be extinct, and a butterfly house is included on the 23-acre property.
The Lost River Cave valley was a site used as a camping ground for both the Confederate and Union troops during the Civil War. Confederate soldiers moved into Bowling Green during the fall of 1861. Many were from warmer southern climates and found themselves fighting extreme temperatures and rampant disease. Measles, typhoid and pneumonia nearly wiped out the arm of 20,000 stationed in the southern part of the state. On Valentine’s Day in 1862, the rebels left Bowling Green for good. Union troops soon moved into the area and a contingent of nearly 40,000 soldiers camped around Lost River Cave & valley from 1862-1865. The men enjoyed the cave during their downtime, crawling through the underground network of passages and writing their names, ranks and companies on the ceiling and walls of the cave. They even fired their guns inside the cave passages to hear the echoes, leaving behind bullets for historic archaeologists to find more than a century later.
Here is an interesting little gem that I discovered while researching....the outlaw Jesse James lived in the area around Lost River Cave during the spring of 1868. He was born in nearby Logan county and his father was a well known preacher. His gang included nine desperate men, one of them was his brother, Frank. Jesse and his gang robbed the Southern Deposit Bank at Russellville, KY on March 18, 1868 at 2:00 p.m. Jesse, Frank and some of his gang members hid inside Lost River Cave up to a week after the robbery. This was not his first bank robbery, but it was very early in his career....he would not get his name in the papers for the first time until December of 1869.
Well, that's it, I'm all out of interesting history about Bowling Green. I hope that you have enjoyed this background information about our humble little hometown. I sure have enjoyed discovering more about this town that I love!!
Don't forget the History of Your Hometown challenge! The deadline is November 14th at 11:59 p.m. and you must use your November kit to qualify! I'll make sure to remind you via the message board and set up a special thread for you to post your layouts. I can't wait to see what all of you history buffs come up with!