discusses how the discovery began. "One day, while exploring
deep in the cave system, my friend Dave Gerboth and I located tiny
shards of glass in a low constricting passage. I followed the trail
about 100 feet, where it led to a small stand-up room."
in the ceiling was a hole that was clogged with garbage such as
tin cans, a Barbie doll, old whiskey bottles, etc. I knew the debris
had to have been washed in by a distant sinkhole, but did not know
added, "I ended up blasting the ceiling hole wide enough to
work my body up into it, and then was able to stand up in a 15 ft.
tall passage. That passage eventually led me into a new section
of the cave that was never known before."
said he followed the trail of debris to a remote trash-filled sinkhole
on land that did not belong to him.
ended up purchasing that parcel, and began an arduous project to
remove and recycle all the debris in the sinkhole."
noted that the top of the pile had recent trash, but as they worked
their way down deeper, earlier garbage began to appear. Once they
reached the base, items from the late 1800s were discovered.
said, "This trial of trash had actually been flowing deep into
the cave during heavy rain events and would eventually find its
way down to the groundwater. Along the major cave passage I spotted
two mailbox nameplates from early owners of the farm!"
can see photos of Ackerman cleaning out the sinkhole at his website,
finding the silver baby spoon he said he originally attempted to
locate the owner, but to no avail.
have had the spoon ever since, and always intended on locating the
baby who was the intended recipient of the silver spoon. Recently,
I was reminded of the spoon, and so this time I decided to get serious
e-mailed this reporter with information found on the spoon. After
searching birth announcements for the month of September in the
bound volume of 1963 Tribunes, this reporter came across the name
Stewart Musel who was born to Roger and Faith (Krieger) Musel on
Sept. 21, 1963.
doing some more digging, Stewart's stepmother, Marcella Musel, stopped
into the Spring Valley Tribune after being contacted. She told about
how Stewart's grandparents had had silver spoons made for each of
their grandchildren. She was rather certain that the spoon belonged
to Stewart Musel.
contacting Stewart, who lives in Chewelah, Wash., he seemed excited
to learn about the piece from his past.
said, "It is kind of nice; it's like getting back a piece of
my heritage and learning more about my heritage."
also added that he had been told that his grandparents had spoons
made for the grandkids.
don't know how it ended up in a sinkhole; I just remember years
ago people used to throw their garbage into them," he said.
noted that since he was a baby at the time, he couldn't provide
more details about how the spoon was in the sinkhole on the Manggaard
farm. He added that one of his older siblings might know more.
sister, Deb Peterson of the Twin Cities stopped into the Spring
Valley Tribune also. She gave some facts that helped to solve the
mystery of how the spoon could have ended up in the sinkhole.
an e-mail she said, "My dad actually worked for Mr. Grems (a
previous owner of the farm) in the early 1960s and our family lived
next door to the Grems family home."
remember a lot of things living on that farm. My dad told us stories
about finding caves when he was farming for Mr. Grems. Shortly after
Stewart was born, our family moved a few miles from the Mystery
Cave until my younger sister was born."
was in May 1966 that John Latchum purchased the 470-acre farm on
a contract for deed from Ammon Grems. Latchum then discovered what
he surmised was a newly opened sinkhole. What he discovered was
a cave system now documented to be one of the most spectacular in
the Upper Midwest.
said, "The Grems family claims that they knew that the caverns
existed before the next owner supposedly discovered it."
when pressed, the Grems' said they knew of the location but never
actually entered the cave and did not know if anyone ever did."
for the fate of the silver utensil that was once thrown out with
the trash, Ackerman said he plans on returning the spoon to its
rightful owner in the near future. After more than 40 years in the
earth, the silver baby spoon will finally find its way home.
more information on the Spring Valley Caverns, go to Ackerman's
website at www.cavepreserve.com/svc.html.
origin discovered of silver spoon found in sinkhole.
Spring Valley resident recently visited the Spring Valley Tribune
with some interesting information about the silver spoon that was
found in a sinkhole at Spring Valley Caverns by owner John Ackerman.
Czapiewski stated that she has nine silver spoons that appear to
be identical to the one found but they are engraved with the name
and date of birth of each of her children.
stated that her spoons came from Al Detterman who owned a drug store
during the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s. Czapiewski added that Detterman
was a friend of hers and she could not remember if the spoons were
purchased or if they were given to her.
Valley Historical Society director Sharon Jahn stated that Al Detterman
owned Rexall Drug, which was located at 117 N. Broadway, which is
now part of Spring Valley Mutual. Jahn said she discovered that
Detterman became the owner of the Rexall Drug Store in 1954.
said there was another drug store across the street called Sward-Kemp
Drug, 104 N. Broadway Ave. (now Workout 24/7) that was run by Pete
Peterson “for many years, including the 1950’s and 1960’s.
The historian stated, “It is possible that either drug store could
have sold the spoons, as both sold gift items, also having sofa
fountains for ice cream, malts, etc.”
added that many people “in the community would have memories of
these two drug stores.”