Along the the shores of the Ohio River, on the Illinois side, you’ll find a dramatic landscape and an amazing piece of history. Carved into the face of a high bluff you’ll find the gaping and sinister looking maw of a 55 foot wide limestone cave.
This is . . .
Carved by water tens of thousands of years ago, Cave-in-Rock has been used by native peoples and travelers for centuries. While the cave offered shelter and protection it also has an unsavory past. The cave’s deep, dark recesses immediately conjure up images of something quite unpleasant . . . bandits and river pirates.
The first European (of record) to come across it was M. de Lery, who found it in 1739 and called it “caverne dans Le Roc”.
From the 1790s to the 1870s Cave-in-Rock and the area around the cave was infested with brazen bandits, murderers and thieves who preyed on the unsuspecting travelers heading down the Ohio to the western frontiers.