Categorized | General Photos

Wonderland Cave Clean Up Day

I had the honor of getting to shoot inside the Wonderland Cave this morning during Clean Up Day at the historic Bella Vista cave. A team of more than 50 volunteers, including students from Rogers HIgh School, descended into The Wonderland Cave wearing protective suits to clean up trash and debris from 20 years of neglect. The cave has been a magnet for vandals since its closure. Broken glass bottles, beer cans and graffiti can be found throughout the cave.

Originally opened as a nightclub on Feb. 28, 1930, the Wonderland Cave was the largest underground club of its kind in the United States. New owners Jan Edwards and Mary Miller of Los Angeles plan to reopen the cave in a year or two as a tourist attraction.

I have shot inside of caves before and it can be very difficult. I don’t like to use direct flash in these situations, instead opting to preserve the mood and ambient light vs. darkness feel. All of these photos were shot using remote flashes or by taking advantage of  the ambient light from the headlamps worn by the volunteers. I even used my own headlamp to light the people and items before me in a few of the shots.

  • Marc,
    WOW! great photos!! We are so grateful for you, your help and your talent!
    Best wishes, MM

  • James Hales

    Wow! This is so fascinating. The cave has a lot of stories to tell if it could talk. I heard that Earl Harris of the Harris Bakery and the Harris Hotel in Rogers brought Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, and other famous actors to this cave and night club when they were making the movie Jesse James in 1939.

  • john nuttall

    Great photos.

  • Doreen Dove

    Great pics – great volunteers – great progress!

  • Linda Rouda

    What a fabulous project! I am looking forward to visiting it. I love Bats!!!!

  • Hi Marc,
    I just found out about these great photos! I’m working on the Wonderland Cave news pages and wonder if I may post a couple of of your photos there, linking readers to this post. Let me know what attribution you’d want, too.


  • JR Gibbs

    Hello Marysia & Jan,
    My name is JR Gibbs. I was born in Sprindale, spent many years in the Air Force,now a retired police detective running my own little business here in Bentonville. I am looking to find out what your plans are for the Wonderland Cave? I would like to get together and chat with you sometime if you could call 479-899-3506 or send an email. Or, if there is someone that has information about the furture of the location please let me know. Thanks.