The natural beauty that characterizes Illinois is more than skin deep, some of the state's most significant and scenic wonders lie far beneath the surface -- in Illinois caves. With more than 100 recorded caves, Monroe County has more caves than any other county in Illinois. Illinois Caverns is the only cave that has been operated commercially in Illinois. In 1901 the cave, which was located on a farm of Frederick Eckert, was leased by a Mr. White of East St. Louis. A bound register kept at the caverns indicates that the first paying sightseers arrived April 23, 1901. Many early visitors were from the surrounding communities, but others came from distant states and even foreign nations.

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