Underground tourism in the capital

LINCOLN, Nebraska. (KOLN) – Residents of Nebraska are encouraged to visit a site known as Robber’s Cave in Lincoln. This year, it’s a stop on the 2022 Nebraska Tourist Passport.

We recently visited Joel Green who gives tours of the cave. “Rogue’s Cave is a 5,600-foot cavern south of downtown Lincoln,” Greene said. “I have been giving tours of it every day for the last 6 years. Over the past couple of years, it has become one of Lincoln’s top tourist destinations. Every inch of the cave is covered with 150 years of activity.”

There are many interesting engravings on the wall, as people have left their footprints in the cave over the years. “There are band names,” Greene said. “There are things like first dates, definitely a lot of hearts and faces and peace signs. The oldest carving here dates back to 1875 and it goes back a couple of years.”

There is one tunnel in the robbers’ cave, which was formed naturally. “The rest was cut down by a German immigrant from 1869 to 1873 for Lincoln’s first brewery. He spent four years with a pickaxe, a shovel and a wheelbarrow, carving out a cave for the camp caves. After that, it was used for anything and everything. It became a brothel, a dance hall and a place for student parties. It used to be a shooting range, and there was even a shop for exotic and tropical fish.”

“The cave has been owned by the Scarborough family for many years,” Greene said. “It was a place where you could go to Boy Scout meetings, picnics, frat parties, and the football team came here in the 60s every year. It was sealed in the 80s and many people broke in. It reopened in 2016 for tours. When people enter a cave, one of the most difficult questions to answer right away is what was it used for? In fact, for what only it was not used!

Turns out there’s a 300-page book about Rogue Cave by Joel Green. “I started it in 2007 and it came out in 2018,” Greene said. “She won the Nebraska Book Award, they even made a movie about her. A film crew from Knoxville, Tennessee, arrived last January to shoot a film based on the book Robber’s Cave.

Green asks more Nebraskas to come and visit the cave. “I would say most of the visitors are from out of state,” Greene said. “It is on the New York Times bestseller list called Obscura Atlas, which describes the strangest places in the country and in the world. Rogue’s Cave is part of that. I would love for the people of Nebraska to come and find out why Rogue Cave is fast becoming a popular tourist destination in Lincoln.”

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