HISTORY OF INDIAN
Our First Visitors.
The first visitors to Indian Echo Caverns, most likely were
the Susquehannock Indians. They lived along the Swatara creek,
upon which the mouth of the caverns sits. It is currently
believed that they used the caverns as a refuge during inclement
weather because of the constant 52° temperature inside
the caverns. The Susquehannock vanished from the area in the
1670's leaving the region around the caverns virtually unoccupied.
The Early Europeans.
The first non-Native American explorers of the caverns were
most likely French fur trappers. They traveled along the rivers
and creeks of the north east during the latter part of the
17th Century and into the early 18th Century. Most likely
they discovered the mouth of the caverns as they traveled
on the Swatara Creek. These intrepid explorers wrote about
their tales in the caverns attracting more and more explorers.
The Caverns Today.
The Caverns were first opened to the general public in 1929,
when Mr. John Bieber opened the doors to the caverns. Mr.
Bieber realized that many people wishing to visit the caverns
might be put off by the treacherous, uneven terrain that nature
created. Bieber undertook a massive commercialization process,
in which all of the pathways in the caverns were made safe
for travel, as well as opening up many rooms closed off because
of huge mineral deposits. The caverns were a natural Mecca
of the region, attracting thousands of visitors in its first
years. However, sadly, the caverns fell upon hard times during
the Great Depression, and Mr. Bieber lost ownership to the
bank. All was not lost, for in 1942, Mr. Edward S. Swartz,
a Hershey native purchased the caverns. Today, the ownership
of the caverns still remain in his family, with hundreds of
thousands of visitors walking the paths of the Susquehannocks