Going Underground: Cave House, Festus, Missouri

There is a cave in Missouri, USA, that has a particularly storied history.

cave home

It began as a mine underneath a forest in the 1930s. In the 1950s, the 17,000 square foot space became ‘Caveland’ – a roller skate rink and concert venue that played host to major pop acts, including Tina Turner.

Caveland closed its doors in 1985, and it was transformed again, this time into a glass recycling center until it shut in 1990.

After that, it stood unused, seemingly for good. Then, finally, in 2003, it was discovered for sale online by Curt and Deborah Sleeper. The couple fell in love with the cave, bought it, and set about the arduous task of turning it into a home.

It nearly didn’t happen at all. Struggles in financing the cave’s purchase meant the Sleepers were on the verge of moving to Belize before the owner finally agreed to a down payment of half the value in return for funding the rest.

With finances stretched to the limit, he Sleepers enlisted acquaintances’ help to build the property from glass doors and other material from a nearby store. In the meantime, they lived in a giant tent inside the cave.

Four years later, the cave had been converted into an incredible three-bedroom house and office space. Inside, the space is vast (the cave itself is three acres in size), with dining and living rooms on the ground floor and the bedrooms on a mezzanine above the kitchen. The property also benefits from a natural spring.

cave home

cave home

cave home

Living in a sandstone mine does have its drawbacks, though – notably, a huge umbrella has to over the living, dining, and sleeping areas to catch falling sand.

However, this only adds to an unusual home’s quirkiness befitting of a cave with such a varied and distinctive past.

The website, caveland.us, is currently run by the Sleeper family and they still live in the home. It is located at 1101 North 11th Street in Festus.

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