Episode 13: A Hidden World Runs Rampant Under St. Louis

There’s a hidden world running rampant under the streets of St. Louis. Buried deep within the earth, it’s so secret even residents of the Gateway City have no idea it exists. Carved by Mother Nature, this majestic limestone wonderland has provided shelter to Native Americans and Civil War soldiers, helped the brewing industry prosper, and allowed more than one local to escape and have a good time. Have you ever heard of the caves of St. Louis?



For this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Donnie Keck, a resident of St. Louis, Andrew Wanko, a public historian at the Missouri Historical Society, and Jeff Crews, a geologist at the Missouri Geological Survey. I’m deeply thankful for their wonderful insight and generosity of time.


Lost Caves of St. Louis; Rother, Charlotte; Rother, Hubert; Virginia Publishing; October 1996.

Missouri Caves in History and Legend; Weaver, H. Dwight; University of Missouri; February 1, 2008.

The Cherokee Cave & Museum of Natural History; Chatillon- DeMenil Mansion; Retrieved April 2018.

Past meets present in hidden world under St. Louis streets; Lippman, Rachel; St. Louis Public Radio; April 20, 2012.

What was “Lemp’s Cave” really like?; Naffziger, Chris; St. Louis Magazine; August 23, 2017.

St. Louis Beer History: Underground Beginnings; Lisa Grimm; Serious Eats; February 2012.

The Geologic Column of Missouri; Missouri Department of Natural Resources; Volume 2, Issue 2; Winter 2008.

Bones in the Brewery: A Paleontologist’s Rendezvous with History and Prehistory in St. Louis; Simpson, George Gaylord; Natural History; Vol. 55, No. 6; June 1946.

Missouri at the World’s Fair: An Official Catalogue; Cox, James; Missouri World’s Fair Commission; 1904.

Images Courtesy of the Missouri Historical Society:

Cliff Cave Picnic Party at Entrance

Cliff Cave

Uhrig’s Cave Beer Garden

English’s Cave


Cherokee Cave


The Lemp Brewery


…and a bunch of guys standing around a giant nasty sinkhole, which is basically a cave that collapsed.