1878 – The Men Who Discovered Luray Caverns Obtained The Land Within “Cave Hill” By A Page County, Virginia Court Auction

In 1804, Meyer’s Cave, which is south of Harrisonburg, was discovered by and became the first ever “Show Cave” in the United States of America. In 1878, Andrew Campbell, Billy Campbell and Benton Stebbins discovered the grand Luray Caverns, which proved to be larger than most other caves that had been discovered previously. The three men kept the cave a secret, until a court auction was held, for the land located along “Cave Hill”.

At the auction the men purchased the land for 17 dollars per acre and set up plans for a “Grand Illumination”, which newspapers in New York and other states reported on.

On April 21st, 1881, in a unanimous decision in the Merchants Bank v. Campbell case, the judges decided that original sale of the cave property was not an “arms length” transaction. Furthermore, it was deemed that there was “superior knowledge of the existence of a cave” during the time of the auction. In a mere three years after the discovery of Luray Caverns, the three men who discovered the cave lost all property ownership of it to William T. Biedler.

In present day, the Luray Caverns continues to be the main attraction for Page County, Virginia.

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