Photo from the Ozarks' History Blog
Where Is It?
Click here to locate on Google Maps
(Old Spanish Treasure Cave)
The Rest Of The Story...
Either the Ozark mountains
are chock full of long lost buried treasure or they're full of tall-tales about
long lost treasure. More than likely, it's a little bit of both. It's true that
Spaniards lugged their stolen gold and silver through the Ozarks on their way
to the Mississippi. It's also true that many an outlaw may have buried their
loot or stashed it away in caves. And suppose you wanted to keep your family
savings safe from bushwhackers. Well, many did just that by creating a
"post hole bank." Meaning they stuffed all their valuables under a
fence post. Whatever the case may be, the Ozarks is full of treasure stories
and even more full of stories about treasure hunters. One of the most famous
treasures of the Ozarks region can be found, (maybe), just north of Gravette,
AR in the small town of Sulphur Springs. Back around 1885 an old man claiming
to be of Spanish heritage came traveling through this area and he brought with
him a story of lost Spanish treasure. Evidently, his treasure tale caught the attention
of several townsfolk who were interested in searching for the loot. The old man
called himself Charlie Nichols and claimed that the Spanish treasure was buried
deep in a place known as Black Bear Cave #35. Many people believed the old man
and sunk lots of money and time into digging for the treasure. After several
weeks, some folks began to lose their patience which resulted in the old man
being run out of town. One investor by the name of George Dunbar continued to
look for the gold. In fact, Mr. Dunbar spent the rest of his life digging in
what would later be called The Old Spanish Treasure Cave. You can still visit
the cave today and even see Spanish relics and a few gold coins that have been
found at the site. There are those today who still believe that a gold treasure
trove worth millions of dollars rests somewhere in the unexplored areas of the
cave system. Ironically though, the mysterious old Spaniard turns up again and
again in Ozark treasure stories. Charles Nichols, Mexican Charlie, or Charlie
Gonzales claimed to be everything from Spanish to Mexican to Cherokee Indian
and he spent his life leading people on bogus treasure hunts. It seems
that the thrill of looking for treasure is almost as alluring to people as
finding actual treasure. Today, a safe and much cheaper way to satisfy the
treasure hunter inside is to go in search of geocaches. Geocaching is an online
game where players use GPS to go in search of actual “caches” hidden around the
world by other players. On of the most popular websites dedicated to this giant
form of scavenger hunting is www.geocaching.com.
You can try your own hand at finding a few caches right here in the Ozarks.
Check out these past blog posts for details, and good luck!
Learn More And Explore!
Old Spanish Treasure Cave video from "Exploring Arkansas" AETN
Ozarks Watch Video Magazine "Treasure Hunting In The Ozarks"
Missouri Treasure Tales
“Under Cover of Darkness: Buried Treasure, Magic, and Deception in the Ozark Mountains” (presentation from the Shiloh Museum of the Ozarks)
Listen to the audio podcast on itunes (#25)
Or listen online directly from the SMO website