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Susquehanna Life

The History of Penn’s Cave

Jun 08, 2017 03:11AM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Penn's Cave & Wildlife Park. Image courtesy of Penn's Cave & Wildlife Park's Facebook page.

Centuries ago, the Seneca Indians discovered the natural landmark cave in the Valley of Karoondinha (Penn’s Valley).

The famous legend of the Indian maiden, Nita-nee (from whom the famous Penn State Nittany Lion got its name) and her French trapper lover, Malachi Boyer, has been told around campfires for generations.

Forbidden to marry because of an Indian custom, they ran away and were captured, and Malachi was thrown into Penn’s Cave to die. Local history also tells of Indians and early explorers using the dry rooms for shelter.

In 1885, Penn’s Cave opened as a commercial show cavern, and the Penn’s Cave Hotel was built. In 1976, Penn’s Cave and the Penn’s Cave House were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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