horizontal banner with Preserve America logo and images of a historic downtown, farm, courthouse, and mountain

Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

Preserve America Community:
Horse Cave, Kentucky

The City of Horse Cave (population 2,252) has an unusual feature: an entrance to a cave on downtown's Main Street. Hidden River Cave leads to an underground river that for decades provided the community with drinking water, electricity, and tourism opportunities.

By the mid-20th century, however, the groundwater in the cave became polluted. In the 1990s, the city partnered with the American Cave Conservation Association (ACCA) to curtail the pollution, develop a regional waste management system, and create the American Cave and Karst Museum in a historic building adjacent to the cave.

Hidden River Cave reopened to tourists, and the ACCA is expanding its facilities by renovating three more historic buildings in the downtown historic district, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Another anchor in the revitalization of downtown is the Kentucky Repertory Theatre, the only professional repertory theater in Kentucky, which is housed in several historic buildings.

For more information

Hart County Chamber of Commerce: www.hartcountyky.org

American Cave Museum & Hidden River Cave: www.cavern.org

Kentucky Repertory Theatre: www.kentuckyrep.org

Posted April 22, 2009

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