Just exactly what lies beneath Marshfield? For a century or more residents have told stories of how a giant cavern lies below the sidewalks and streets, connecting businesses, private homes and even the courthouse. There are wild tales of coal being stored and delivered underground, of people using the tunnels to reach the courthouse in a deep snow and hunters losing their hounds east of town, around Bald Hill (Hosmer) only to recover them west of town beyond Fyan Prairie.
As a boy, and perhaps when my father was a boy, as I heard it from him, the tale made the rounds about a local man finding a skeleton in a Civil War uniform clutching his musket, back in a ways from one of these entrances. When wounded he had purportedly crawled in the cave to die. The musket was allegedly displayed in the window of the Marshfield Mail or another business, while the skeleton was given a proper burial. Another tale has it that a meat market on the square, (assumedly Smith Brothers), used the cave to hang and store meat, they had to close this off as people were getting in and helping themselves. Others insist everything from cordwood to feed, hay to hardware and dry goods were stored in this ever-expanding grotto and that their grandaddies all had to fetch something from the hole. With every repetition over the years the “Marshfield Labyrinth” grew in depth and length.
In exploring Webster County's history and culture we find only a few bits of lore as persistent through generations. Whether or not these tales are true is beside the point, they are now a part of our culture and should be preserved. If we look forward another century, this tale amongst others, will more than likely be gone altogether. My goal is to explore the supposed entrances and record your cave stories for posterity, irrespective of whether they are factual or not. Give me a hand, this is going to be fun!
- Champ Herren
Do you have a cave story to share? Please contact me via Facebook or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you know where an opening exists?
We would love to hear from you and you can remain anonymous.
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