Karst Topography


Cave Features

Amazing Caves

Crystal Cave Homepage


Crystal Cave is located near Spring Valley, WI and was accidentally discovered by two teenage boys in 1881, when 16-year-old William R. Vanasse was walking through the woods near his home. The next day, William and his brother George went back to explore the hole he had discovered. They lowered themselves into the hole that is now the second level of the cave.

It was originally called Sander's Corner Cave, but was open to the public in 1942 as Crystal Cave. It was developed and commercialized by Henry A. Friede, an amateur geologist from Eau Claire, WI. As an added attraction, a restaurant was built in the first level of the cave, and had many infamous diners over the years. Friede wanted to increase the size of the cave, so he hired workers to remove dolomite from the cave.

The cave changed owners many times over the years, but in 1986 Blaze and Jean Cunningham purchased the property. In 1992 major expolration of the cave began. Since then, the length of the cave has tripled, with further exploration adding to the known area yearly.

For more information visit: www.acoolcave.com

Sinkhole at Crystal Cave







In 1982 the ground under the employee parking lot collapsed due to underground digging and the lack of a stone ceiling. This created a sinkhole- a connection between the surface and the underworld.

Original Entrance


The original cave entrance is shown below with its present condition to the left. The entrance is kept for ventilation and as a way for bats to enter and exit the caves.


old cave entrance
Created by:
Amber Smith and Jacqueline Chambers
smithamb@uwec.edu chambeja@uwec.edu
December 18, 2006