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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ozark Treasure

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
http://youtu.be/y0V7qka1Y3o

 

Ozarks Watch Video Magazine "Treasure Hunting In The Ozarks"
http://video.optv.org/video/1392421629/

Missouri Treasure Tales
http://www.legendsofamerica.com/mo-treasures.html

 

“Under Cover of Darkness: Buried Treasure, Magic, and Deception in the Ozark Mountains” (presentation from the Shiloh Museum of the Ozarks)
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/308708
Listen to the audio podcast on itunes (#25)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/shiloh-museum-ozark-history/id182155463
Or listen online directly from the SMO website
http://www.shilohcast.blogspot.com/2011/11/under-cover-of-darkness-buried-treasure.html