Monday, February 27, 2017
Around 1870, the Lime industry began to flourish in Erin and Houston County. Several Limekilns were built in the area and several still remain. Limestone was loaded into the fire chambers of these kilns and was converted into a fine lime powder. It was the county's biggest industry until the 1940's when the high quality limestone was depleted.
The man-made cave you see here is one of the places where the Limestone was excavated. This hill / mountain was quarried for a long time. Then, as they continued to dig, they struck a spring, which caused the cave to flood the way it is today. (The water really is that shade of blue - no photoshopping on my part to get that color!) According to legend, as the water started to fill the cave rapidly, the crew had to get out quickly and left all of their equipment down there.
The cave has three openings and two of them are easy to get to. As you drive highway TN49 (Main Street in Erin) look for the Piggly Wiggly, and you can see the lake behind it. Behind the Piggly Wiggly, there are some parking spaces and a picnic table right near one of the cave openings. From these parking spaces, you can already see one cave opening, but it's not the best one to use. (There's a No Trespassing sign at this entrance, probably because of safety concerns. Picture #4 of the series shows the view from behind the sign.) Instead, you'll want to take the path that leads around to the right for the best entrance and view. from the entrance, if you turn around and look across the outside part of the lake, you can see one of the intact limekilns.