Finding Paradise

Cave MouthThroughout our lives, some of the places we visit impact us in powerful ways.  Most of these places don’t suit themselves well to building our homes.  Several stand out in my mind, including the Grand Canyon, a little island in the center of a volcanic crater lake in El Salvador, and the Saute de la Lezarde waterfall pool in Guadeloupe.  Many of these places are remote and, as they should be, are publicly-owned.

Caveland affected us in the same way as many of these natural wonders the first time we visited.  The place drew us in, and inspired us. 

In December of 2003, with just a few short months remaining on our office lease in downtown St. Louis, we contemplated purchasing a building, to reduce our office expenses, provide us with more flexibility of use, and to build equity.  When standard real estate searches failed to find a suitable space, Curt turned to Ebay with a search for “Commercial Property Missouri.”  The first result on the page surprised him.

“Deborah, there is a cave for sale and it’s only 30 miles away from here!"

We called our friend and realtor, Cammie Middleton-Helmsing, and arranged to see the place.  She and her husband met us at the property on January 6th.  The moment we stepped through the gate, we knew we were home.  We wanted to live, work and play here for the rest of our lives.

After roaming the property for several hours, we sat down at Poppy’s, a local Italian restaurant, and discussed the purchase over appetizers and a bottle of wine.  Cammie prepared our first offer to the seller, and several offers and counter-offers later, we had a viable contract with four months of due diligence to get inspections and arrange financing.

In May of 2004, we closed on the property, and immediately began building a shed to house tools for the build.