Organ Cave

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National Historic Landmark -- -- Greenbrier County

Organ Cave was so-named for a dripstone formation near its entrance that looks something like a large pipe organ. Located in the limestone belt south of the Greenbrier River, the cave has been a tourist attraction since 1822 when guests at Roger's Stagecoach Stop were routinely invited to explore its passages. Visitors today traditionally descend 150 feet from its entrance to the floor of the Chapel Room, its first large chamber. The pathway down was first excavated in the 1860s by Confederate soldiers, who were mining the cave for saltpetre for use in gunpowder. Large wooden hoppers, used to refine large amounts of saltpetre, are still found in the cave. In 1850 a kiln was excavated into the hillside near the entrance and was used to produce lime and potash to fertilize crops, treat animal hides, and to make cement. Still in its original work setting, equipment from the period demonstrates the types of industry employed in caves. Incorporating more than 45 miles of cavern beneath a 26-acre area, Organ Cave is the largest commercial cave in West Virginia.

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