by Elli Metz
February 23, 2001
One of the "leading" families, headed by the Verges clan, decided to descend the sharp hill into the quarry below (they were brickmakers) and build a cave. The concrete, three-room cave was painted brightly with cartoon characters of the day (originality wasn't such a big deal as was a "festive" atmosphere) and kept sealed with a rolling rock. Inside, wild alcohol parties would take place -- until Prohibition ended and the cave was no longer needed for any illegal purpose, when it was sealed permanently with concrete.
Fast-forward about sixty years. The clearing where the quarry was is now a park, named after the fine, upstanding Verges patriarch. Someone breaks into the concrete, finds the rooms behind the rock, and the Verges' claim it was an old playroom. It is resealed to leave the park intact.
The story broke when some pictures were found -- the upstanding Mr. Verges had quite a wild side. Mrrowr.
Now the caves are a part of Norfolk history. Twice a year, during the LaVitsef (cleverly named as "festival" spelled backward) festival, and near founder's day, the caves are open for tours. A giant rock is rolled away by forklift, and you can see the roaring twenties, Nebraska-style.
The walls are faded and everything's been cleared out, furniture-wise, but there's still a feeling in the caves. Something interesting has happened here. It's history, behind a wall of stone.
From journal O Home, Home on the Plains