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Cave-In-Rock, Illinois facts for kids

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Cave-in-Rock Main Street.jpg
Main Street downtown
Country United States
State Illinois
County Hardin
Coordinates 37°28′12″N 88°9′59″W / 37.47000°N 88.16639°W / 37.47000; -88.16639
Area 0.43 sq mi (1 km²)
 - land 0.37 sq mi (1 km²)
 - water 0.05 sq mi (0 km²)
Population 318 (2010)
Density 874.6 /sq mi (338 /km²)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 62919
Area code 618

Cave-In-Rock is a village in Hardin County, Illinois, United States. Its principal feature and tourist attraction is nearby Cave-In-Rock, on the banks of the Ohio River. Cave-in-Rock was originally a stronghold for outlaws, including: river pirates and highwaymen Samuel Mason and James Ford, tavern owner/highwayman Isaiah L. Potts, bandits the Harpe Brothers, counterfeiters Philip Alston, Peter Alston, John Duff, Eson Bixby, and the Sturdivant Gang, and the post-Civil War bandit, Logan Belt. The population was 318 at the 2010 census.


Cave-In-Rock is located at 37°28′12″N 88°9′59″W / 37.47000°N 88.16639°W / 37.47000; -88.16639 (37.470050, -88.166297).

According to the 2010 census, Cave-In-Rock has a total area of 0.422 square miles (1.09 km2), of which 0.37 square miles (0.96 km2) (or 87.68%) is land and 0.052 square miles (0.13 km2) (or 12.32%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 306
1920 349 14.1%
1930 430 23.2%
1940 486 13.0%
1950 550 13.2%
1960 495 −10.0%
1970 503 1.6%
1980 468 −7.0%
1990 381 −18.6%
2000 346 −9.2%
2010 318 −8.1%
2015 (est.) 297 −6.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 346 people, 165 households, and 96 families residing in the village. The population density was 874.6 people per square mile (334.0/km²). There were 201 housing units at an average density of 508.1 per square mile (194.0/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 98.27% White, 1.16% other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.02% of the population.

There were 165 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.8% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.8% were non-families. 41.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 28.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the village, the population was spread out with 23.4% under 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 24.9% who were 65 or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 81.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.8 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $20,694, and the median income for a family was $28,393. Males had a median income of $35,833 versus $18,125 for females. The per capita income for the village was $12,050. About 20.5% of families and 28.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.8% of those under age 18 and 24.1% of those age 65 or over.

The Cave

Cave-in-Rock's primary feature is a striking 55-foot (17 m)-wide riverside cave formed by wind and water erosion and cataclysmic effects of the 1811–12 New Madrid earthquakes at Cave-in-Rock State Park 37°28′07″N 88°09′21″W / 37.46861°N 88.15583°W / 37.46861; -88.15583, just upriver from the village. The first European to come across it was M. de Lery of France, who found it in 1739 and called it "caverne dans Le Roc". Other names for the cave include Rock-In-Cave, Rocking Cave, Rock-and-Cave, House of Nature, The Cave, Big Cave, and Murrell's Cave. The cave has been the main feature of Illinois' Cave-in-Rock State Park since 1929.

Fluorite mineral specimen from Cave-in-Rock area
Karl Bodmer Travels in America (7)
Cave-in-rock, view on the Ohio (circa 1832): aquatint by Karl Bodmer from the book "Maximilian, Prince of Wied’s Travels in the Interior of North America, during the years 1832–1834"

Town history to the present

Cave-in-Rock Ferry loading
Loading a vehicle onto the Cave-In-Rock Ferry.

The majority of Cave-In-Rock's earliest settlers were fugitive criminals on the run from civilized society. In the middle of the 1800, church services were being held in the cave. This earliest Christian congregation eventually formed the Big Creek Baptist Church; founded in 1807, it was the first church organized in southeastern Illinois. Cave-In-Rock incorporated in 1839, in the same year that Hardin County was created from a section of Pope County.

In popular culture

In Walt Disney's Davy Crockett and the River Pirates, Davy Crockett and Mike Fink anachronistically fight Sam Mason and his pirates. Also, at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, there is a scene called "Cut-Throat Corner" and "Wilson’s Cave Inn" that can be seen on the bank of the Rivers of America while riding the Liberty Belle Riverboat around Tom Sawyer's Island. This scene is based upon the real life Cave-In-Rock and the activity of river pirates during that time period.

A scene of the MGM classic How the West Was Won was filmed at the cave as well as at Battery Rock. In 1997, The History Channel show In Search of History also, filmed at the site for an episode entitled "River Pirates".

The "ninth book" of Christopher Ward's 1932 novel The Strange Adventures of Jonathan Drew; A Rolling Stone is titled "Cave-In-Rock". The action is set in 1824. Jonathan rescues two slaves duped into running away and working for a gang of dangerous outlaws who use Cave-In-Rock as their base of operations.

L. A. Meyer's novel Mississippi Jack features the heroine leading an anachronistic raid against river pirates as a homage to the aforementioned Davy Crockett episode.

In 2009, Artist Greg Stimac photographed Cave in Rock's cave for his series of outlaw hideouts. In 2013, his photograph "Ancient Colony of Horse-Thieves, Counterfeiters and Robbers" was included in “The Seven Borders”, an exhibition curated by Joey Yates at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.

Slim Pickens

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