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Route 66 News

Onyx Mountain Caverns closes

Onyx Mountain Caverns, a tourist attraction for years near Route 66 in Pulaski County, Mo., closed about a month ago and has been sold to the U.S. Forest Service.

“I lost my husband (Harry) about a year ago … I didn’t want to monkey with it anymore,” said former co-owner Agnes Thiltgen, who’s in her 80s.

Elrand Denson, district ranger for the Forest Service, said new gates have been installed at the cave to keep out intruders (“There’d been a number of break-ins there”) but allows bats to come and go. Denson told me the cave won’t be commercially operated anymore, but instead will serve as a place for endangered and threatened species, such as the Indiana bat and the gray bat, to live.

Denson said the Forest Service is entertaining commercial or residential offers for a building on the Onyx grounds, which is said is “in pretty good shape.”

Here are some thumbnail photos of the inside of the cave. Some history of the caverns can be read here.

(Thanks to Tonya Pike for the tip.) 

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