Cave Without A Name is four miles off Farm Road 474 and ten miles northeast of Boerne in southeast central Kendall County (at 29°53' N, 98°37' W). It was discovered in 1927, when a goat fell through a hole into the cavern. In the mid-1930s some exploration was conducted. The property was originally owned by a rancher named Short and then purchased by James L. Horne. The Horne Ranch, Incorporated, developed the cavern, which was opened to the public in 1939. Horne held a contest to name the cave. While visiting it a young boy commented that it was too pretty to have a name. He won the contest with his suggestion, Cave Without A Name. Over the years, however, the cave has been known by various other names, such as Century Caverns and Short Ranch Cave. Estimates of the cave's age vary from 100 million up to 400 million years, when the land was covered by a shallow sea that carved out large underground cavities. The temperature in the cavern is a constant 66° F, and the cavern floor is approximately 100 feet below the surface. Cave Without A Name is at least 80 percent active and consists of a large corridor that is subdivided into several rooms. The cavern contains many large formations that vary in color from white to amber, brown, and red, due to mineral content. Also present are some of the largest calcite formations called bacon strips in the United States, as well as deposits resembling white grapes and other shapes. Striking features include the formation called "Mary and Christ" and a series of travertine-dammed pools. Gravel walkways wind through each room. The tour ends at an underground river that spelunkers have explored and mapped up to 3 ½ miles upstream. In the 1990s the cave was owned by Eugene and Jolene Ebell and open to tourists Wednesday through Monday. Though heralded as one of the state's more scenic caves, it was not largely advertised. No other recreational or camping facilities were on the property.
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San Antonio Express News, February 3, 1990. Jerry and Dorothy Sinise, Texas Show Caves (Austin: Eakin Press, 1983). Texas Parade, May 1940.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Laurie E. Jasinski,
“Cave Without A Name,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 30, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
December 1, 1994