A recent Trip to Harrodsburg KY brought an unexpected bonus.Had I not mentioned to my Dad[always an endless file on local History, the archaic, the obscure and the forgotten ]That I was heading there to see fort Harrod,I would have missed one of the most fascinating things I’ve come across recently. He told me near Harrodsburg are the ruins of an old restaurant/gas station/gambling establishment built inside a cave along the cliffs of the Kentucky river.
|Chinn's Cave House back in the day|
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With the Name Chinn people often incorrectly assumed he was Asian but The Chinns are an old pioneer family from Mercer county KY. The name was French Huguenot and was originally
de Chiene but over time it was shortened to Chinn. George graduated from MMI [Millersburg Military Institute] in 1920 and was in the (ROTC) program. Among his accomplishments, At Centre he was a lineman on the team that won the national Football championship in 1921 beating Harvard 6-0. He became a Colonel in the U.S.M.C. and was co-inventor of the Mark 19 40mm automatic grenade launcher. The Mark 19 was introduced in Vietnam And it is still in use with U.S Forces as of this writing.
|Many who pass by here probably don't notice this ruin|
After his Military career Chinn returned to his native Mercer County near the Brooklyn Bridge between Jessamine and Mercer counties. At one time There were four gas pumps out front if you needed fuel and you could enjoy Hot ham sandwiches and foot-long chili dogs, and shoot at the indoor shooting range. Ahh but The cave held a secret, the gas pumps and roadside dining were a ''front'' literally. In the back of the cave, through a secret entrance there were slot machines ,making the place a sort of riverside, again ''literally'' underground gambling operation.
|Eventually the law caught up with Chinn and the place was shut down for good|
|Blocked off with a fence I could still see there are lavatories and living quarters|
|With lots of debris laying around it makes me |
wonder if the slot machines are still in there
|You can see a glass Structure added later but now completely collapsed|