"Could've fooled me! There really was a Spanish cave, although it's not in Springfield, and probably doesn't have any Spanish gold in it. It's actually located near Reeds Spring, and is called the "Old Spanish Cave." (Pretty original, eh?) The cave has quite a bit of history, and was even once a public show cave! However, a cave-in closed the cave permanently, leaving only three of the thirteen chambers open."
From my research I found there was an old legend of a cave that lay just a few miles outside of old Springfield. In the 1930's a number of letters were discovered describing a hidden treasure in a cave near old ( 1800's) Springfield. If I remember right a Springfield newspaper published the letter in the early 1930's as well. According to this letter, written by a Mexican in the late 1850's, the treasure cave would have been located approximately two and one-half miles southwest on an old road from the city's open square. The cave was supposedly located close to a spring and in the side of a cliff with a large bolder covering the entrance. According to the story two men followed the directions in the letter and found the location, removed the stone and fill dirt, and entered the cave, but never found the treasure.....typical.
According to calculations I made ( that has been some time ago) the cave is now completely encompassed by the city of Springfield.
If anyone is interested in the original letter by the Mexican I believe I still have a copy or a translation put away and would be more than happy to post it, for it is a most interesting tale........who knows it still may be accessible.
Does the lead have specific directions that would have you begin in the center of Springfield (I believe, downtown) and have you follow a certain route to find the cave?
Feel free to post it, if you feel so inclined to do so. I never turn down extra reading or documents... especially in the Springfield/Ozark area.
O K heres the letter, understand this is not an unknown story. Just not an overly told one. A good pre1850's map of Springfield would be handy, because the date on the letter when found was 1858.
Go to what is now called Springfield, in Greene county, Missouri. It is a village about twenty miles up the James River above the old Spanish town of Levarro. Leave the open square in the center. There is an old road or trail that leaves from the southwest corner of hthe square and runs southwest.
Follow this about two and one-half miles. You will come to a dim road running east and west. Go west on this road about a half-mile and you will come to a big spring, some big timber, and two or three old cabins.
If you look carefully, you will find some sinks in the ground about four hundred paces southwest of the big spring, and across the creek there is a bluff. About three hundred paces from the center of the bluff and down the creek, there is another spring, not so large as the first. Somewhere near the center of the bluff, and fronting north on the creek, was the main entrance to the cave. It was filled up and covered by a big stone and there are three turkey tracks carved on the stone in a straight line east and west, and two of the same above. Remove this stone and also the filling for twelve or thirteen feet. and you will find a passage the descends for about twelve feet. When you reach the bottom of the descent, you will find a passage bearing nearly south. A little farther you will find one running southeast, a little farther one running southwest. This is a false passage about thirty feet in length. It was cut to reach a deeper passage comingunder the creek from the south side. It was abandoned when the new entrance was made
This one you follow is the one running nearly south and dips down. You follow this until you enter a large room being used to work as a smelter to make bullion and Spanish money. The tools are there. My father and brother worked there years ago, and they have taken some from there after the Spanish left that country. there is plenty more for a dozen people, and more in sight.
If you cannot find it by these directions, you follow the creek that runs through Springfield and runs southwest. Follow it out to the flat or bottom where you will find a big spring, and just beyond the big spring about three hundred paces there is another creek coming into this creek a little south of east, and it comes together a little north of the east bluff where the cave is, dividing this bluff opposite the big spring and the bluff where the creek runs together. The creek here runs a little south of west.
I think the entrance to the mines was near the center of the bluff, on the north side, fronting the creek and above high water. When you leave the east and west dim road, there are three large oak trees. They are marked: The first tree is marked with a turkey foot; the second tree is marked with two turkey feet; and the third tree has two turkey feet cut on the north side of the tree and pointing south by west. The spring is on the south side of the creek. Four hundred and ninety-six paces from the spring, southwest on the south side of the creek, is the entrance to the mines on the north side of the bluff near the creek.
Be patient and you will find it as the above is described. There are three kegs of gold stored in a niche in the big room, covered with gravel and broken stones.
Jose', if you suceed in finding this, be on your guard as to Saville."
That the letter in its entirety. As I said a good old map of Springfield would be a good start to find the original open square. Who knows you might find something; let me know if you do. It will be sometime before I am back over that way work has slowed down and I don't have any jobs lined up in south MO. At least for now. Happy hunt'n and good luck!
Yep, that's the one I have. I forget which of my THing books it's in, but I know it's there in that detail. I searched all my e-documents, so I'm pretty sure it's in one of my books in my bookcase. I'll have to pull 'em back out...
Thanks for posting it on here though. I'll compare just to make sure the info is exact.
Most likely yours is the same as mine. All the others Ive come across were either the same or really close in directions or details. Still it would be cool to find something like that treasure smack in the middle of Springfield.
I know, I agree!!!
After being here for 6 years now (attending college), I kinda know the area fairly well... especially the landscape and non-developed places.
As for the "open square", we have what's called "The Square" downtown (on the Northside of town) I just can't help but wonder if the names and places have changed all that much over the last 151 years....
I also find it funny that your the first person that I've heard mention this story since I first read it.
Yep, found it... the exact story in my W.C. Jameson book, Buried Treasures of the Ozarks. I had it bookmarked & underlined too!
The original article was posted in the Springfield News & Leader in July 1935
the cave was found in the 50s by a group that put a lot of time and money into the search. they hired a crew to dig it all up when they found out it would be paved over in 59. they found the smelting room, and no treasure, even with mineral detecting equipment. someone else got there first probably.
An edit in 2014, this group still insists they found the cave and equipment. It was in the papers. I can't let the story go so I keep looking for other caves in the area in case it's not the only one. Like a small dog with a chew toy
Old Spanish Cave - in Stone County, Missouri - near Reeds Spring
My Recollection of Old Spanish Cave by Night Eagle
The Old Spanish Cave, near Reeds Spring, in Stone County, Missouri is real. It is NOT an urban legend or Ozarks folklore.
I visited the cave as a child in the 1960s.
I was in the 3rd, 4th or 5th grade at Abesville Elementary. Thus, the years would have been 1964, 1965 or 1966.
My mother, a farmer, and I went one afternoon to visit the man, who happily mentioned that the land he owned had a cave. As I remember the events, it seems the previous owner had told him about the cave, but had apparently never had any intention of opening the cave to the public.
My mother had went to see the couple about some farming matter and the cave owner brought up the topic of his new cave.
At the time Fantastic Caverns, near Springfield, Missouri was gaining fame as a cave in southwest Missouri with their ride through jeep tours. Silver Dollar City had only been up and running as a tourist attraction for a few years. Marvel Cave, near Silver Dollar City, was beginning to attract visitors. Branson, Missouri had the Baldknobbers musicians and there was talk that people like Buck Owens and Roy Clark might open music theaters in Branson. It was the mid -1960s and Taney County's business optimism was leaking across the county line into Stone County.
The man, who talked to us about his cave, mentioned his desire to try and open the cave to the public. The story we were told is essentially that Spanish conquistadors took refuge in the cave. The story claimed they had either one or three treasure chests of coins or jewels. Mystery takes over and at that point, it seemed people weren't certain what happened to the soldiers or their wealth. Naturally, Old Spanish Cave was the last supposedly confirmed sighting of the soldiers and the treasure. Folklore suggests that either the soldiers buried the wealth and never came back for it or left the wealth there with the intention to return.
Although it was late in the afternoon, my mother and I did have the opportunity to step inside Old Spanish Cave. There was no grand public entrance. Literally, it was an arch shape opening in the side of a rock hillside. To a farmer walking by, the opening would of looked just like a large hole in a moss covered limestone cliff.
There was a small black yard gate at the entrance that the owner used to keep trespassers out. Unlike Missouri's famous caves, this one had not been as thoroughly explored or developed. There was still some sunlight, so we stepped inside the first chamber.
Inside Old Spanish Cave in the 1960s
About 10 feet inside the opening there was a nice deep hole. When you are eight, nine or ten years old a 10 foot hole can look like it is 100 feet deep. My knee high to a grasshopper mind measured the hole at about 20 to 30 feet across and probably about 10 to 20 feet deep – keep in mind – these were the measurements of an excited grade school kid looking down into a really deep hole, with the story of Spanish Conquistadors hiding their doubloons away in the Missouri hills.
I remember to the left of the massive hole in that center chamber was a pool of water about three feet wide and probably about two feet deep. The pool of water, supposedly kept the relative cool temperature throughout the year.
There were some tool shaped pieces of wood that could be seen in the bottom of the big hole, which could suggest someone might have at one time been digging in the cave.
My mother and I only went into the first chamber, while the landowner serving as the proud tour guide told us the story about the cave and explained that he had hopes to explore and open all the cave to the public. The entrance and chamber of the cave, actually seemed spacious. It had no lights, so the setting sun served as the persistent indicator that our time would be limited to look around the cave.
One possible reason for the confusion on the location of the cave could come from the amount of caves in Missouri. Around the late 1960s one of the popular tourism slogans stated: “Missouri The Cave State.” Growing up in Stone County I knew several kids and landowners who mentioned that they had caves on their property. Supposedly the entrances of some caves were wide enough you could easily walk into, while others were holes in the ground that a small dog would have problems going into or out of.
I remember the cave was on private land, near Reeds Spring. I believe the cave was only a couple of miles past the Coon Ridge Coffee Shop before you reached the city limits of Reeds Spring.
In looking through my Galena Bears yearbooks from 1962 through 1976, I found there were advertisements for Old Spanish Cave for the years 1969, 1971 and 1972, which suggests the cave must have been open for a time to the public.
Is there gold doubloons and jewels in Old Spanish Cave ?
Ricklt, if you are still looking for this treasure I have been too. For the past year i've been chasing down every lead i can get to find this treasure. And i know where the cave is: though countless hours of hiking, being lost, and getting shot at by hillbillies me and my friend found it. Theres and ingraving on the outside of the entrance that states a spanish name too worn to make out, and the date 1810. it fits the timeline and location perametors perfectly and is exactly like the letter describes. The problem however is that the cave has filled with mud and we could only get so far back into it, crawling on my stomach most the way and i had to turn back when pits of water began to fill the tunnel.
It seems to me that the writer was repeating directions he had been given,so I would not be too sure of the distance,there is a place on the james river that seems to fit the directions except distance,(Indian Springs) (Blue spring) Etc. .South of the wilson creek battle field.
The aged "Mexican" uses the expression "old road or trail". How "old" could it have been in his younger days? Anytime
someone says "old" or "sometime in the 1800's" I know I think someone may be talking through their hat.
Iam new to this site and I am researching the spanish gold in joplin missouri,sounds an awful lot like the story or the lost spanish gold in cass county missouri,starting to really have my doubts about either one,I think it is the same treasure but told differently .Any replies are welcome.
When I was a child we found a cave between Neosho and Joplin. Had an engraved rectangle with symbols or writing we did not recognize the opening was small, even to a skinny twelve year old. Crawled down a tight tunnel which opened into a sizeable cavern with two levels and dirt floors. We played in it and never told a soul. This was in the early 1960's. We have never been back and as far as we know, it is still our secret. Should go back there, I guess