Jul 6 2010

Bear Cave Resort, Buchanan, Michigan

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Sign-Bear Cave ResortOn Saturday of the July 4 weekend, we drove down to Buchanan, Michigan, to stay at Bear Cave Resort. Rich in historic tradition, this preserve was built on the site of a former Indian Village. Bear Cave is the only cavern in the Great Lakes area. Beautiful stalactites, flowstone, petrified leaves, and strange shapes, all colored by the metal oxides of native ores, run throughout the cave. Outside, the area surrounding Bear Cave, located on the St. Joseph River, is rich in wooded hills, wildflowers and deep ravines. 

We were able to get a shaded site with full hook-ups. Donna drove down to join us. We joke about her car being our toad — it just arrived a few hours later.  Bounder3 Donna Car

The cave, though small, was delightful. Along the 40 foot winding stairway that leads visitors through the cave are stalactites, petrified leaves, and other peculiar shapes. The metal oxides of native ores color the entire cave. The cave measures 15 feet deep, 4-6 feet wide and 10-15 feet high. Sign leading to cave

The cave holds quite a bit of significant history. It played a significant part in the Underground Railroad during the period of slavery. In 1875, the “loot” from an Ohio bank robbery was “deposited” in the cave. This became the inspiration for the 1903 silent film, The Great Train Robbery. The film, now considered a silent film classic, was the precursor of today's thriller movies. 

Donna from Slave RoomA room in the cave, named The Slave Room, was used to hide the slaves. On our trip, the room had water in the entrance. A little water never stops Donna, so she went down into the room. Inside, the water was up to her waist.