Seneca Caverns


Useful Information

Location: 5km from Route 33 at Riverton, 18km from Seneca Rocks.
Open: APR to DEC Mon-Sat 10-15, last tour 14.
Closed 24-DEC, 25-DEC.
[2011]
Fee: Adults USD 13, Children (3-13) USD 8, Children (0-2) free, Senior (62+) USD 11.70, Military USD 11.70.
AAA: Adults USD 11.70, Children (3-13) USD 7.20.
Groups (15+): Adults USD 11, Children (3-13) USD 6, School Pupils USD 6.
Stratosphere Cavern: Adults USD 13, Senior (62+) USD 11.70, Military USD 11.70.
Groups (15+): Adults USD 11.
Combination Tickets: Adults USD 21, Senior (62+) USD 18.90, Military USD 18.90.
Groups (15+): Adults USD 19.
[2011]
Classification:  Karst cave
Light: electric
Dimension: T=13°.
Guided tours: D=60min
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Seneca Caverns, Travis Taylor, HC 78 Box 85, Riverton, WV 26814, Tel: +1-304-567-2691, Toll Free: 1-800-239-7647, E-mail: contact E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2014/07/21 08:13:32 $

History

 
1400sdiscovered by Seneca Indians, one of six Iroquois confederacy tribes.
17th + 18th centuryused by the Seneca tribe for ceremonies and as refuge.
1742re-discovered by Laven Teter, a European explorer.
1928cave opened for lantern-lit tours.
1930opened to the public.
1982purchased by Earl "Buzz" Hedrick, a retired Washington, D.C., contractor.
2005Stratosphere Cave opened for spelunking tours.
FEB-2008cave closed due to financial reasons.
APR-2008cave reopened.

Description

The name of Seneca Caverns derives from the Seneca tribe, which used the caverns for ceremonial purposes and as a refuge from cold winter storms and enemy tribes. They used the cave for hundreds of years, before it was discovered by the white settlers. It is said, that Chief Bald Eagle held many council meetings in the chamber now called Council Room. The biggest chamber is the Grand Ballroom, which is 20m long, 10m wide and up to 24m high.

The cave was discovered by the German settlers of the area in 1742 a man named Laven Teter, who was looking for water to supply his livestock. The Teter family owned the ground until 1928. The new owners opened the cave as a show cave. As soon as they owned the cave they first made lantern tours and developed the cave. The show cave was opened two years later, in 1930.

Unfortunately the cave has been closed to the public in FEB-2008, due to financial problems. The owner, Greer Industries, explained, the business plan was simply not working. Greer Industries is a limestone producer, but they disclaimed any plans to mine the limstone around the cave. Later in the year the cave was reopened on a seasonal basis with reduced open hours.

Nearby is a second cave, called Stratosphere Cave or Stratosphere Balloon, which is used for spelunking tours. The cave is very easy and does not include vertical parts. Old clothes, long pants, headlamps and sturdy shoes are required for those tours.

Stratosphere Cave is a part of the same cave system. This entrance was also known to the Seneca. When they were visited by the Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury in 1760, they were so honored, they renamed the cave Asbury Cave. That is how this cave became the oldest recorded cave in the state. Asbury describes the cave in his journals, and also mentions a second cave, which is Seneca Caverns. During the 1960s Asbury Cave was used for food storage and as a fall out shelter by the Civil Defense. Later the cave was opened as a show cave, but the stairs were made of wood and were destroyed by fungi growing on the wood in the humid cave. Soon it became too dangerous and the cave was closed.


See also


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