What would you do with a 17,000-square-foot cave if it belonged to you? Would it occur to you to convert it into a home and live in it? I think for most people it wouldn’t, but for the Sleeper family, it most certainly did. And they found it on EBAY!
The “Cave House” in Festus started out as a mine. Later, it was owned by a man who used it to raise mushrooms and fishing worms. In the 1950s a woman named Sue Morris converted it into a roller skating rink and concert venue called “Caveland.” Over its time as this incarnation, it hosted such famous performers as Tina Turner, Bob Segar and Ted Nugent. It closed in 1985 and basically remained unused until the Sleeper family bought the property off of eBay in 2003, and converted into a home.
They spent many years working on the property, spending four years in a tent next to the cave at one point. In 2009, they appeared on television because they were putting the property for sale online due to foreclosure.
The 17,000-square-foot home contains three chambers. The first chamber, which takes up two floors, is 2,240 square feet. The upper level contains three bedrooms and a bathroom. On the lower level is the kitchen, entrance and family areas. The second chamber has the laundry room, a shower area, storage space and stairs leading to the upper level. The innermost chamber is the third chamber, which is where the roller rink and concert venue were located, currently only being used for storage.
In addition, the home also features an indoor natural ground-water spring pool. Although it is a rather large space, no furnace or air-conditioning is needed. Geothermal and passive solar systems keep the home a comfortable 70 degrees all year-round.
The website, http://www.caveland.us, is currently run by the Sleeper family and they still live in the home. It is located at 1101 North 11th Street in Festus.