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This cave, historically known as Crump's, Cave Springs, Lisenby, or Smith's Grove Cave is 1.5 miles long and was a part of Cave Springs Farm Bed and Breakfast at the time Western Kentucky University purchased it. The purchase of the cave entrance, which was gated in 1994 to protect some ancient "mud glyphs" near the back of the cave from destruction, was to protect the cavern and sinkhole in addition to the mud glyphs. These Native American drawings are of geometric figures, animals and human figures in a clay wall dating back to 80 B.C.  One of the glyphs, is an extremely rare representation of a human pregnant female, and it may be the oldest drawing of a female ever discovered in North American. During the archaeological inventory, another type of drawing, a charcoal drawing of an animal like a deer, was found near the entrance of the cave.  Other important historical information suggests that the site was used as a hiding place for slaves along the "underground railroad", it served as Smith's Grove water supply, and the first 800 feet were used for cave tours by the bed and breakfast.  Most of the remains of the water works have been removed from the cave and water quality research equipment has replaced it because Western Kentucky University now conducts unique research on water movement and quality in Karst systems in the cave.  Biologically the cave serves as habitat for transient federally endangered gray bats in addition to big brown, little brown, and tri-colored bats, 3 cave beetles, a cave crayfish and a cave cricket.  The uplands are primarily dominated by large chinquapin oaks with an understory of wild hydrangea near the cave entrance.


Access: Open only by guided tour from Hoffman Environmental Research Institute at WKU due to sensitivity of the site.

Access Type: Research Only
County: Warren
Region: Green River Region
Size: 2.01
Owner:
 Western Kentucky University
Manager:

​Western Kentucky University under a KHLCF easement

Purchased with Assistance of:
Lat: 37.062625
Long: -86.197533