One of the caves near Branson is the Mystic Cavern. During the discovery of the Mystic Cavern it showed an interesting evidence of a visitor that dates back to 1919 where a person named Adam Kolbe carved his name below other name Wilcockson dated April 6, 1919. This time of year, the cave was called as “Mansion Cave” because of its open and large chambers. The date of the opening of Mystic Cavern for commercial purpose was not exactly known. However, the tour already began before 1928. Mystic Cavern lies 40 miles south of Branson, Missouri and is only 8 minutes south of Harrison, Arkansas. This exciting cave tour at Mystic Cavern is such a unique cave expedition not to be missed. The cave tour offers trained guide escorts who will guide visitors through the path of the first settlers to the area.
In 1930, a certain Mr. Stringer purchased the cave and he operated it commercially for several years. He named it after its former name “Wild Horse Cave”. Visitors to the cave climb down a wooden ladder to enter the cave. A pair of coveralls and kerosene lamps will be issued to each visitor before the start of the cave tour. A soot damage inside the cave is visible that was caused by kerosene lamps. The owners of the land, Jim & Bob Gurley installed a wooden ladder to the entrance to give visitors convenience in passing rugged trails. The Gurleys conducted the tours initially by using kerosene lanterns as source of light. The hand-carved name “Wild Horse Cave” stood near the ticket office.
From years 1937 to 1938, Jerry Cannon, the new owner of the cave renamed it as Mystic Cavern. The cave was managed by Mose Arnold and set an admission fee of 25 cents and still included lamps and coveralls. During this time, a swinging bridge had been built over Mill Creek Canyon. The bridge helped made the visitors move easier in going down and back up to reach the entrance of the cave. The old wooden ladder at the entrance have been replaced by concrete ladder. The rope is placed beside the entrance to help visitors when descending down to the cave.
In 1938, the commercial tours to the cave was halted as a result of state policy. The cave remained closed till 1949. When the cave was purchased by Albert Raney, Sr. in 1949, he began to recommercialize the cave. He then removed rotten wood and other debris and for the first time electric lights were installed and added concrete handrails where the trails were steep.
By 1950, the Raney family built a house-ticket office made of rock. The office still stood in 1984 but has burned down. The cave was reopened to the public under the same name Mystic Cavern. In 1959 the cave was turned over to his son Albert Raney, Jr. and ran it until 1966. Today, the newly developed Dogpatch theme park bought the cave from the Raneys.
If you want to experience a unique and breathtaking cave expedition and know some interesting facts about caving, visit the Mystic Cavern in Branson.
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