Day in History - September 06, 1883 - Young Siblings Blanche and Orris Hiestand Discover Marengo Cave

A Day in Indiana History - September
A Day in Indiana History - September
September 06, 1883 - Young Siblings Blanche and Orris Hiestand Discover Marengo Cave
Stories vary about how fifteen year old Blanche and Orris Hiestand came to discover the Marengo Cave. One story relates that the children, out on a hike, followed a rabbit down a hole and discovered the cave. Marengo Cave staff guides state that Blanche had heard some boys who were classmates in her school telling about a recently opened sinkhole that they wanted to explore. Blanche decided to beat the boys to their adventure. She hurried home and got her eleven-year-old brother, Orris. The two gathered some candles and trekked off to the spot Blanche had overheard as the boy's destination. Together the two went to the sinkhole, located on a neighbor's land, and went in. Lighting the candles exposed the children to a fantasy world of sparkling rock formations. The candles flickering light caused their courage to ebb and the kids exited the chamber. Three days later, they informed the landowner, Samuel Stewart, about their find. Stewart's son explored the cave and realized they had a made a major find. Local residents had heard about the discovery and were entering the cave and breaking off formations as souvenirs. Stewart quickly put a stop to this, thus preserving a majority of the formations. He opened the cave for tours a few days after its discovery. The cave remained in the Stewart family's possession until 1955. The next owner died before he could make his planned improvement. The current owners purchased it in 1973. They have continued making improvements to the cave.

Marengo Cave
400 East State Road 64
P.O. Box 217
Marengo, IN 47140
(888) 702-2837
(812) 365-2705