Monday Daily Delawhere [2.11.13]

Filed in Delaware by on February 11, 2013

When the highest point in our state is only 447 feet above seal level, and the vast majority of the state lies on a coastal plain, it stands to reason that there will not be many caves here. And that is true. There is only one known cave. The Beaver Valley Cave is located near the intersection of Beaver Valley & Beaver Dam Roads in Chateau Country, just 100 feet away from the Pennsylvania border. The entrance is 24 feet wide and 5 feet high, and the main chamber is 16 feet deep, with a crawl space continuing another 40 feet further in. Lenni Lenape Indians used the cave as a resting spot and shelter when fishing in the nearby Brandywine River.

© Photos courtesy of anonymous photographer xzmattzx

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  1. Jason330 says:

    This cave resembles Jabba the Hut.

  2. Delaware Dem says:

    It sorta does. Or a mole hill.

  3. kavips says:

    Go figure… Delaware’s only cave would be up Beaver Valley.

  4. Roland D. LeBay says:

    There is another very small cave along the western bank of the Brandywine, roughly across the creek from the Woodlawn Trustees parking lot. The cave is tiny, roughly the size of a telephone booth.

  5. Walt says:

    That cave was dug by Underground Railroad Engineers to smuggle slaves under a guard point and into Pennsylvania. But they wore out the 14 shovels they had before making it to the line. A short time later it was discovered by the guards, and so it was never completed and put into service. I don’t know where you got the Lene Lenape Indian story about it.

  6. puck says:

    We had guard points to get into Pennsylvania?

    That makes me think of Arte Johnson on the old Laugh-In bit at the Soviet-Chinese border. “Verr-y interesting… but unlikely.”

  7. Walt says:

    It’s funny you mention that other cave on the western side of the Brandywine, Roland. That cave actually was a telephone booth. P.S. Dupont had a problem with the groundskeepers hanging out in their cars in the parking lot you mention and drinking too much during their lunch breaks. So he had a little cave dug across the river so his spy could have some cover while he collected info on the drunks. The problem was that by the time the info got back to security the drunks were usually gone and escaped without discipline. Later Dupont had the telephone installed in the little cave for the spy to call in, and security was able to clean up the problem. That old phone would probably be worth some money if it was still around.

  8. liberalgeek says:

    a guard point might have been a reasonable proposition since we were the last slave state on the way north.

  9. puck says:

    @Walt- Sadly, that parking lot is now grown over and invaded by tall oaks, maples, and native undergrowth. If you stand there now you would never know there was once a vibrant parking lot. We’ve got to stop neglecting our past.

  10. Roland D. Lebay says:

    @Walt- Are you sure it was P.S duPont? The cave sits on Irenee duPont’s estate.

  11. Walt says:

    It might have been Irenee. I get the Duponts mixed up sometimes.

  12. John Manifold says:

    I believe it’s on Seymour du Pont’s estate, known as Squalor, about which Ralph Moyed would write.

  13. mediawatch says:

    Interesting thought, John, but Ralph put Squalor to the southeast of Chateau Country, just outside of Elsmere.

  14. Roland D. Lebay says:

    JM-TY for mentioning Ralph Moyed.

    My late father (a lifelong Dupont employee) used to bring home the Philadelphia Daily News every evening. Moyed was one of his favorite columnists. My Dad LOVED the Seymour duPont columns above all others.

    I sincerely thank you. Your one-sentence comment brought back a flood of happy memories as well as the scents of Old Spice after shave lotion, stale Winston cigarette smoke and fresh newsprint.

  15. mediawatch says:

    Roland,
    Your Dad might have brought home a Philly paper every day, but Ralph never wrote for the Daily News.
    Most of his career was with the News Journal, and his columns appeared in both the Evening Journal and The Morning News before the a.m. and p.m. editions were merged.

  16. yeesh, a whole lotta misinformation on this thread – Walt seems to be intentionally snarky about what some of us cherish: Our Delaware Heritage.

    Ralph Moyed wrote for the News Journal. I was friends with his daughter Nancy (who went by Leah in college) and briefly dated the older brother. My friends Lisa Clemmons and Nancy Collins were great friends with Johnny the youngest Moyed, rest his (and Lisa’s) soul.

    And it certainly was thought to be a cave used by the local indians. Weslager is the best source for all things Lenape:
    universalskills.blogspot.com/2007_06_01_archive.html
    Jun 21, 2007 – The cave entrance is obscured by grape and honesuckle vines during … a mile from the B randywine River, and 7 miles from the Delaware River. According to Weslager’s book these lands were probably hunting territories of a Lenni Lenape (Delaware) band which lived further up the Brandywine River.

    There’s also this from google: The Restoration of American Shad – The Brandywine Conservancy
    http://www.brandywineconservancy.org/…/...
    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML
    rivers and streams, including the Brandywine River and Creek in Delaware and …. The Brandywine was inhabited by members of the Lenni Lenape or ‘Delaware’ Indian tribe for …… and a fish ladder was installed on the Cave Hill dam in 2000.

    That’s referring to the dam on Beaver Valley Road named after the cave (I didn’t even know that until just now).

  17. Roland D. LeBay says:

    So I’m a moron & confused Moyed w/ Mike Royko. Never really was a Moyed fan, but I enjoyed the Seymour duPont columns.

  18. kavips says:

    Roddy L. Well, at least you got the memory “of the scents of Old Spice after shave lotion, stale Winston cigarette smoke and fresh newsprint.” Sometimes our blessings come to us in very odd ways.

  19. Joanne Christian says:

    Aw Winstons–back in the day when your mom could send you to the corner store w/ 30 cents to buy her a pak (and they just went up in price). And caves—-silly people—-didn’t any of you ever picnic in the old Brandywine Springs Park (don’t know if they call it still that)—and part of the day was to run off to the Indian Cave?

    Years later, I was to read in one of those “Ripley’s Believe it Not” series book they used to have and my big eighth grade sister always read was “Delaware is the only state without a cave”.

    Now–who to believe?

    And Royko and Moyed were always a confusion. I swear it helped Moyed’s career.
    And it was the Evening Journal then–until the name change.

  20. Walt says:

    Good call, Nancy. I fed ‘em bullshit and they ate it like candy.

  21. Joanne, the Indian Cave near Smith’s Bridge is a long haul from Brandywine Springs Park on a tributary of the Red Clay Creek that feeds directly into the Christina River.

    But in our northern NCC piedmont topography, there are probably a number of decent enough-sized caves for the purposes of children and their play.

    There are signs of pre-historic residents around here. Looking down from a friend’s house perched up across from the Brandywine Picnic Park a few years ago, I spotted the stones of an ancient fishing weir still set in the water.