(GMT)14 DEC 2016 REP7P:
Crystal Cave in Pennsylvania
On Sunday, November 12, 1871, William Merkel and his assistant, John Gehret, were blasting for limestone on a farm owned by Merkel’s parents. At the time, crushed limestone was a valuable resource widely used by farmers to increase the fertility of soil.
To their astonishment, they noticed a dark, narrow hole in the side of the steep hill, eighty feet from Gideon Merkel’s farmhouse. They pulled away the surrounding dirt to reveal an opening large enough to penetrate. Once inside, darkness precluded further exploration.
The news of the potential cave discovery created much excitement in the small rural Kutztown community. Plans to explore this natural curiosity were made that same evening at a local tavern called Lesher’s Bar. Several adventurous neighbors, including John Gehret, went back a few days later equipped with ropes, ladders, coal oil lanterns, and torches. Their suspicions were confirmed. A good sized and well-decorated cave did exist on Gideon Merkel’s farm. Through word of mouth, nature’s silent development in the mountainside suddenly became big news...........