Discovery By Humans 2017-05-23T12:26:56+00:00

Howe Caverns Is Open
Saturday, June 24th & Sunday June 25th
9am to 6pm
Monday, June 26th – Thursday, June 29th
Open 9am – 5pm
Friday, June 30th – Labor Day
Daily 9am – 6pm

Howe High Adventure Opens
Our Outdoor Park Is Open
Weekends in June &

Daily July 1st – Labor Day
12 Noon – 5pm

Contact Us

518 296-8900

Plan Your Vist Today!

CLICK ON THE CALENDAR

Howe Caverns Is Open
Saturday, June 24th & Sunday June 25th
9am to 6pm
Monday, June 26th – Thursday, June 29th
Open 9am – 5pm
Friday, June 30th – Labor Day
Daily 9am – 6pm

Howe High Adventure Opens
Our Outdoor Park Is Open
Weekends in June &

Daily July 1st – Labor Day
12 Noon – 5pm

Discovery By Humans

Howe Caverns, which was discovered 20 years before the outbreak of the Civil War, has a history that follows America’s transformation from a farm-based economy to an industrial nation. It was a time when great fortunes were made by leaders of the Industrial Revolution and a time when man was eager to exert his command over nature.

Prior to the arrival of the German Palatine Settlers in the Schoharie Valley in the early 1700s, the Indians knew what they called “Otsgaragee” or “Cave of the Great Galleries.” In historical records, there is some disagreement as to this translation, which suggests the Indians explored deep into the cavern. A second translation is “Great Valley Cave,” which may be more accurate, as many believe the Indians’ superstitions may have kept them from exploring the cave.

The first white man to enter the cave did so in the early 1770s. Perhaps Johnathan Schmul, a peddler, had been calling on families in the mill town of Kobel’s Kill (today, Cobleskill) when he sought refuge from an Indian attack by hiding at the entrance to the cave. Schmul later confided in a local pastor, Rev. John Peter Resig, “I found a cave when the Indians were after me. That’s my home. But be mum about this. Should war break out, then flee to this cave and you will be safe.” Schmul and Resig vanished quite suddenly from the historical records, as did the Indians of the Schoharie Valley, who fled the area with their Tory counterparts at the end of the American Revolution.

Please note: historical excerpts taken from The Remarkable Howe Caverns Story by Dana Cudmore, The Overlook Press, Woodstock, NY, Copyright 1990.

Little was known or remembered of Otsgaragee by the early 1800’s when Lester Howe, his wife Lucinda, and their three infant children – Huldah Ann, Harriet Elgiva and Halsey John – settled in the valley east of Cobleskill. The location of the cave entrance had been lost to history, but there was talk of a mysterious “Blowing Rock” – a strange rocky ledge from which a cool breeze of air emanated on even the hottest days.

Howe and his family farm were located adjacent to the caverns’ hidden entrance (the farmhouse foundation stood on Dug Road, just east of Boreali’s Restaurant until I-88 was built). There is no doubt Howe was fascinated by stories of the strange local phenomenon “Blowing Rock.” Reports of the day placed its location just north of the “Kobles Kill” and ten miles west of the Schoharie River – on or near his property.

There are several different accounts of the caverns’ history, but the most often told (shortened for the touring public) is that Howe found the cave by accident on the 22nd of May, 1842. On many hot summer days he noticed his cows pastured in this same spot, not on his land, but land owned by neighbor and friend, Henry Wetsel. When Howe approached his herd, he began to notice the temperature getting cooler. His dairy herd had gathered near the cave’s hidden entrance to feel the cool air coming from below, and Howe had indeed found the mysterious “Blowing Rock” and gave credit, in particular, to a cow named “Millicent” for helping with the discovery. Howe then entered the cave with his neighbor Henry Wetsel.

Please note: historical excerpts taken from The Remarkable Howe Caverns Story by Dana Cudmore, The Overlook Press, Woodstock, NY, Copyright 1990.

Plan Your Trip Today!

CLICK ON THE CALENDAR

518 296-8900