Photograph - Photograph-high Resolution
The tunnel system known today as the Ohio Caverns was discovered August 17, 1897 by Robert Noffsinger, a farmhand who worked on the land. A sinkhole had been forming on land owned by William Reams over a period of about 10 years. In August of 1897, this sink hole measured 50 feet across by 10 feet deep. One particular night, the sinkhole was filled completely with water during a hard rain. By morning, the water was completely gone. Reams reported to the local newspaper that he lost "several hundred barrels of water." Reams had recently hired Robert Noffsinger, a young man from Virginia, to work on his farm. By Reams' orders, Noffsinger and Jordan Reams (unknown relation to William Reams) began to dig in the sinkhole. Noffsinger dug a few feet of soil until he hit the top of the ground's limestone layer. After finding a crack in the limestone, Noffsinger broke through this rock as well. Immediately feeling the caverns' 54 �F (12 �C) air, Noffsinger was even more curious. He lowered himself into the caverns and became the first living creature inside of the Ohio Caverns system. After crawling 8 feet into the caverns, Noffsinger called back out to Jordan Reams to fetch him an oil lantern. After Noffsinger received the lantern, he explored 802 feet on his first trip into the caverns.
August 20th, 2013
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