I 81 exit 298, 2 km south on Rt 11, the historical Valley Pike.
|Classification:||Karst cave. Ordovician limestone, Edinburg (Chambersburg) Formation.|
|Guided tours:||L=400 m.|
|Address:||Crystal Caverns at Hupp's Hill, 33231 Old Valley Pike, Strasburg, Virginia 22657, Tel: +1-540-465-5884, Fax: +1-540-465-8157, Email:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|First human visitors were the Native American tribes, whose hunting parties frequented the northern Shenandoah Valley region.|
|~1755||the Hupps, "Dutch" (German) emigrants settled just north of what is now Strasburg, VA. They soon discovered the cave.|
|1825||mentioned by Samuel Kercheval in his History of the Valley of Virginia as "cavern, rumored to be extensive...with much in the way of stalatictic matter".|
|1861-1865||Hupp's Hill was in the center of several of the great battles of the American Civil War including Fischer's Hill and Cedar Creek (Fall 1864).|
|1919||the caverns were acquired by Bruce Hupp of Strasburg, paths were built, electrical lights installed.|
|30-MAY-1922||opened for the public.|
|1998||on Memorial Day weekend reopened with a newly designed lighting system.|
As this cave is known for a very long time, it was always used by man. First the hunting parties of Native Americans used it as shelter. The Hupps took advantage of the cavern's constant 12 °C to store food. Tales have been recounted that the caverns were the refuge of escaped slaves, making their way to freedom through the Underground Railroad. Actually the Underground Railroad is neither a railroad nor underground in the speleological sense, except probably the Crystal Cave part of it.
During the American Civil War deserters from both sides of the conflict hid in the cave. It also may have been used as an ammunition dump and bomb-proof. Two important battles, the Battle of Cedar Creek and the Battle of Fisher's Hill during Sheridan's Valley Campaign, took place right outside the cave. There was also a Civil War Prison Camp on site. Because of this the Stonewall Jackson Museum at the cave interprets Stonewall Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign and Sheridan's Valley Campaign of 1864, namedafter Union General Philip Sheridan who led it.
The Ordovician limestone of the cave contains very little other minerals, so the formations in this cave are very white. They shimmer like crystals, which led to the name. Very famous are the microgours, tiny rimstone pools covered with calcite crystals. The typical speleogenesis of the Ordovician limestone produced high and narrow fissures, with heavily decorated shafts and domepits at the intersections of the fissure passages.