Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Myth, The Legend, and the Rare Book About It All

For the last three years, staff members at Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park have been conducting historical research on the cave and the surrounding lake area. This information is being put together for a brand new lantern tour of America's most scenic cave tour beginning this summer 2017. (Keep an eye out for more information about that soon!) 


Bridal Cave was named after a Native American legend which was detailed in the book "Indian Romances" published by Colonel R.G. Scott. Colonel Scott was once the owner of 5,400 acres of land in the lake area, including parts of what is now Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Bridal Cave, and Thunder Mountain Park.

Even though we were in possession of a copy of this Native American legend, in almost 70 years no one at the park had ever seen a copy of the actual book it was included in. It had been searched for over the years, but no one ever had any luck locating a copy of the book anywhere. Some even secretly began wondering if both the book and the legend ever existed or if they were just made up stories.  

Finally, someone had a little bit of luck! While doing a Google search on the cave and Col. Scott, an intriguing website fro the U.S. copyright office was found that listed a copyright for Robert Graham Scott in 1933 for a 141 page book titled "Indian Romances" to be published by Meador Publishing in Boston, Massachusetts. We now had proof that the existence of the book was quite possibly true. 


Further investigation found that Meador Publishing was no longer in the book business. Never ones to give up, our staff continued searching the web and came across a "book head hunter", so to speak. This is a person who searches for out of print, hard to find books. A mere 3 days after contacting this individual, he was able to find proof that the book did go to print, and even better, he located 3 copies! One copy is at the New York Library, another in the Mormon Library in Salt Lake, and the final copy was actually for sale by a rare book dealer in Springfield, OH. 

Bridal Cave immediately contacted the dealer to see if this was indeed the book we had been searching for, and that it mentioned Bridal Cave. Well, not only was it the right book, but chapter 11 is actually titled "THE Bridal Cave!" It includes the Native America legend that we are familiar with, plus an additional four pages of information about this region of the Ozark Mountains. An interesting footnote to this is that when the original cave developers, Mr Krehbiel, Mr. Banner, and Mr. Wilkerson, incorporated the company to develop the cave , the corporation was named "THE Bridal Cave Development Company Incorporated."

After a flurry of online communications, we are proud to announce that your favorite Lake of the Ozarks family attraction is now in possession of the only non-public copy of the book that gave our landmark attraction its name! If we are incorrect about that and you have information about another copy of the book, we would love to hear from you. 


Those of us here at Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park are currently researching whether or not this legendary book can be brought back into publication. It would make an excellent addition to our gift shop, allowing us to share this wonderful piece of historical literature with our visitors. We'll keep you posted if indeed it becomes available once again. 



One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

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526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 346-2676

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