Verges Cave Revisited

Pure Nebraska
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 11:19 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2023 at 11:22 AM CST
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NORFOLK, Neb. (KOLN) - If you are from Norfolk, then you are probably familiar with a man-made cave that is now cared for now by the Elkhorn Valley Museum.

Dr. Ferdinand Verges and others formed the Norfolk Brick and Tile Company on the property behind the Elkhorn Valley Museum. Over time, Dr. Verges and his family built a unique man-made cave into the hillside. “It is part of our grounds now,” Elkhorn Valley Museum Executive Director Libby McKay said. “The cave was built by the Verges family as a gathering spot around 1916. The walls were eventually reinforced with concrete, and it was sectioned off into different rooms. There was a fireplace in there, because at one point there was a man-made pond nearby. People used to ice-skate on the pond, and then warm up by the fire in the cave.”

Historians believe the cave was probably used for parties, while some people like to consider the possibilities of it being used for bootleggers, or for secret socieites to hold meetings. “I can neither confirm or deny secret societIes used it,” McKay said. “I can tell you the Masons and the Lions used to meet and have gatherings there. We’ve also heard that during prohibition, it was used as a speakeasy. But, we don’t have any concrete evidence of this happening.”

Today, Verges Cave is used as a fun attraction for people who visit the museum. The walls of the cave have drawings of cartoon characters from the 1920s. It still has a fireplace, a coat room, and what appears to have been a kitchen at one time. The museum uses it for school visits, and the cave is also featured during Pioneer Days in August, and during a special Halloween trick or treating event in late October. Tours during the winter are not recommended, as it’s more difficult to get to the cave in snowy or icy conditions.