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In the Footsteps of Jesse James

Updated on April 24, 2012

Where Jesse James Hid Out

Historical marker of Jesse James Hideout
Historical marker of Jesse James Hideout
Inscription on marker
Inscription on marker
An old carriage
An old carriage
The ballroom in the cave
The ballroom in the cave
The actual building they stayed in...inside the cave
The actual building they stayed in...inside the cave
The way they keep time.
The way they keep time.
Our tour guide
Our tour guide
A display in the caverns
A display in the caverns
in the caverns
in the caverns
Stalactites
Stalactites
Stalactites and stalagmites
Stalactites and stalagmites
Looking into the river
Looking into the river
up closer
up closer

Discovering Jesse James Hideout

On a trip west through Missouri I was looking for something to do with my niece when we happened on Merimac Caverns. I did not know it was the hideout for the outlaw Jesse James. We learned that the huge entry to the cave allowed them to bring their horses in. It was later used by bootleggers and they pulled their cars right in. It has in recent past been rented out for wedding receptions and proms. A very different place to have those events.

One room in the caverns was used on a honeymoon show that Art Linkletter hosted. A young couple was paid $1000 to stay in the cave for their honeymoon. I understand there was a couple who did. I don't remember the show.

They found money from one of Jesse James robberies in the cave. They also found his escape route. There is an underground river running through the cave and they were able to walk the horses out that way. It was a pretty fool proof place to hideout.

While there if you dare there is a zip line, you can take a river cruise, and pan for gold or gems. My niece panned for gems and was amazed at the number of gems she found. We spent a good two hours in the cave, bought some souveniers, she panned for gems and we found something to eat.

We watched signs along the highway for something to do and ended up here. It is off the beaten path, but many people manage to find it. The finale in the amphitheater is worth the entire trip into the cave. Not to mention you pick up a bit of history along the way.

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