- Lost St. Louis beer cave McHose and English Cave rediscovered after 100 years.
Last May, St. Louis spelunking enthusiasts helped rediscover the legendary McHose and English Cave after 100 years of mystery as to its exact whereabouts. The “lost” cave was found about 50 feet below the surface of the English Cave Community Garden in the Benton Park neighborhood by a geological team drilling down from above. The effort was organized by the English Cave Steering Committee and financed in part by the Missouri Speleological Survey and Meramec Valley Grotto.
According to St. Louis Construction News & Review, the S-shaped cave measures about 350-feet-long by 25- to 35-feet-wide. Brewer Ezra English used it as an underground beer garden and entertainment complex in the 1840s, and over the decades the cave was utilized for storing beer and wine, farming mushroom — even bowling. The last recorded use of the cave was in 1919, after which time the entrance was sealed and, eventually, lost.
Efforts are underway to explore the cave, with one prospect being to link the underground space to the existing garden and possibly allow rappelling access from the surface.
“We can only drill from October to March due to the gardening activities…[and] we are in a holding pattern as regards to drilling due to the pandemic,” said Bill Kranz of the Benton Park Neighborhood Association.
Negotiations with the landowners are ongoing, with updates provided at bpnastl.org/community-garden, according to Kranz.