To try and solve the mystery of the location of the Barry and Johnston caves, I contacted Joe Light of the Meramec Valley Grotto, a nonprofit dedicated to the study, exploration and conservation of area caves. I met Joe and some of his compatriots ten years ago when they generously answered an invitation from me to have a look at the entrance to the Sutton Cave here in Maplewood.
Joe kindly sent me everything his research had discovered about the two caves in question with the caveat that I not reveal the location of the entrances to the cave to the general public. This is the standard policy of his organization. It is necessary due to the fact that many of the caves are very dangerous for various reasons. In many there is always a risk of cave-ins. In an urban area the caves are often polluted by sewage and the air is unsafe to breathe. And these folks are preservationists of caves. Amateur spelunkers not only risk injury or death to themselves but they often damage fragile natural features of the caves and harm the environment in the process.
Joe asked me to be vague about the location of these caves so I will. He is going to approve this before I post it. I can say this honestly that it will do no one any good to search for the entrances for one of them has been so modified as to make entrance impossible and the other has a building built on top of it.
Hopefully Joe will approve of my telling you that one of the cave entrances (now completely paved over) was located a short distance west of the Schnucks store at Brentwood Blvd. and Manchester. Another was located north of Manchester and east of Brentwood Blvd, about 2,000 feet from the first.
If you have an interest in caves, you can contact Joe Light at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also has produced a couple of very interesting books with the Missouri Speleological Society.
Joe has provided these two interesting photographs of Dr. Barry (Berry)’s home which was once located a little west of the aforementioned Schnucks store.
Much thanks to Joe Light for all of his help on this post. All of these cave people that I have met are very friendly. If any of you regular readers decide to get involved with this sort of thing (I’m talking to you George and Mark) keep us posted. It is fascinating to me but I am NOT going down in any of them.
There might be something to be said for being underground these days. Things above ground have gone beyond crazy with the invasion of the Capitol building in DC. There are a lot of folks who are responsible for this. I’d like to see every one of them get the justice they deserve.
Hopefully things will calm down after the inauguration and we can get back to things that we should be concerned with. Things like helping each other and working on unifying a divided country. The ones who sew division will still be around but all decent people must resist them and the false deluge of information that they produce.
Thanks for your attention.
Doug Houser January 7, 2021