Strange New England - Lost Cave of Monroe

1858 Map of MonroeRumors of a lost cave in Monroe Connecticut have circulated for a long time. It has most likely been the inspiration for many young boys to explore the deep forest during those warm summer days. Tradition says that an adventuresome man named sharp stumbled onto a treasure hidden in a hillside of Monroe Connecticut. The story goes on to say that with 400’ of rope, Sharp explored the cave as far as safety would permit. What exactly he saw would remain a mystery. In the 1820s the cave was mined for Silver and limestone, but the ore acquired from it proved to be very poor quality. Eventually the mining ceased.

It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the cave came to the public’s attention again. The current land Owner Henry PlumbVictorian Vacation rediscovered the caves on his property. He Victorian Vacationfound he could only travel 60’ into the cave. He believed this was due collapse that had happened since Sharps journey. Still, he believed that he had found a true treasure. Outdoor exploration was popular with vacationers at the time, so Mr. Plumb began offering guided trips into the cave. Hoping to uncover the other passages that were previously explored Sharp, Mr. Plumb Hired workmen to clear the passages that were currently filled with dirt and rock. One of the chambers found by Plumb was 20 feet long, by 10 feet high and wide. Others were still waiting to be uncovered.

The cave wasn’t mentioned again until the 1940s, Local author Clay Perry would mention the cave in his book New England’s Buried Treasure. He mentioned it briefly in a chapter on Caves in Connecticut. The current lore of the cave said that Plumb eventually uncovered a chamber that could fit 75 people. It was named the Kings Ballroom, and Plumb had some seats and tables carved from the stone. Though Mr. Perry suspect that these tales might be stretched from the truth, he felt the cave was noteworthy for his book.

The cave didn’t get mentioned again until the 1960s when the nuns that had owned the property at that time had the entrance of the cave was blown up by the Army Corp of Engineers. Since then the cave has become a popular legend.

In 2017 the cave would once again be uncovered. A short documentary done by local explorer Mike Sandone recorded the event. Though the entrance was closed again after it had been explored. Plans are currently in the works for digging out the lost passages of this lost cave. Before the end of 2017 a small group will be visiting the location of the cave to explorer the possibility of putting the mystery of what treasures it holds to rest. Fortunately, I will be participating in this second trip to a long-lost wonder of Connecticut history.

I hope you enjoy Mike Sandone’s short documentary on The Lost Cave of Monroe.

 

Head over to Youtube to check out the videos of some of the other fantastic adventures of Mike Sandone:  The Lost Cave of Monroe

 


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