Indian Echo Caverns Pennsylvania

For nineteen years (1802–1821) the caverns were the home of William Wilson, known as the Pennsylvania Hermit. Wilson withdrew from society after his failure to halt the execution of his sister WElizabeth for the murder of her twin sons. Following her death in Chester, Pennsylvania in 1786, William wandered westward across southeastern Pennsylvania, settling in the caverns in 1802. The Sweets of Solitude: Instructions to Mankind How They May Be Happy in a Miserable World, an essay supposedly written by Wilson during his time in the caverns, was published following his death. (Wiki)

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Directly underneath

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A sketch from William's diary, sad that he did not reach his sister with the pardon in time.

A sketch from William’s diary, sad that he did not reach his sister with the pardon in time.

So we learned that the first visitors of the caverns were….wait for it….Indians.  After that it was the French fur-trappers.  They were hanging out in the caves, building fires, staying dry and waiting for animals to be caught in their traps.  That was back in the 17th and 18th Centuries.  In the 19th Century ole William set up camp until from 1802 until 1821, dying a cave resident.  After that, the caves were open to people passing through, perhaps looking to advertise their business cheaply.  The first graffiti was an advertising for pretzels.

Ad Fail: The company went out of business.

Ad Fail: The Lebanon company went out of business.

There were a few other acts of graffiti following the abandonment of the caverns.  In 1929, Mr. John Beiber (no relation to Justin, our guide told us) opened the caverns to the public, with the paths improved and gravel added for safety.  The rooms of mineral deposits were opened for viewing, and handrails, light fixtures, etc. were added to assist in navigating the cavern.  It is dark, chilly, and damp, and often eerie inside, with tales by our guide about dragons and zombies.

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J. Lehner 1858 Andrew

J. Lehner 1858 Andrew


HI At least they kept it short.

At least they kept it short.

red graffiti

red graffiti


I found this promotional photo from 1970 on the Indian Echo Caverns website and thought it was the bees knees.  😉

Historical photo from 1970

Historical photo from 1970

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Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard

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In 1942, Mr. Edward S. Swartz, a Hershey native purchased the caverns and his family still retains ownership.  The color of the caves has not been altered, they really are that colorful!

We also enjoyed the Conestoga Wagon display and the petting zoo.  🙂

Click on the first thumbnail to open the photo gallery. Enjoy and stop back again soon!  ~P.



  1. Would be interesting if you could discover why he tried to stop the execution did he think she was innocent? Did he know who the real killer was? Maybe a chance for you to test your investigative skills 😀

  2. F Keller – my uncle Francis (long deceased) put his initials up when he was just a boy!

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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