Marlow's Outlaw Cave declared landmark

Published: Nov. 16, 2007 at 10:07 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2007 at 10:08 PM CST
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Marlow_It's the stuff legends are made of.  The Outlaw Marlow Brothers hiding out in a cave during the cattle drives on the Chisholm Trail in the 1800s.  But, it's more than a legend now.  The cave had been lost for over 100 years, but it was rediscovered three years ago.  Now, in official rope cutting ceremony it's been proclaimed a centennial landmark for Marlow, Oklahoma.  Although, townsfolk like to think of the legendary cattle rustlers as cowboy entrepreneurs.

The great, great, great granddaughters of the Marlow family - Kerry Lewis and Pam Ferguson took part in the ceremony dedicating the cave as a centennial monument.  7News was not allowed to enter the cave and the city didn't want to risk a collapse, but the story and the event were plenty fascinating.

The story is like something out of an old western.  The cave was a secret hiding place where cattle rustlers waited until they could spring up and snag their prize.  The cave was discovered by a city worker in 2004 after it had been hidden for over 100 years.  Now, a building has been erected over the site so people can come and read about its history and the history of the Marlow family.

Friday, city officials and residents dressed the part to celebrate the official opening of the landmark.  "It's such a deep part of our history to be able to do it on such an important day for our state is just awesome for us," says Debbie Ridley, Manager of the Marlow Chamber of Commerce.  She has worked hard getting this off the ground - or, rather, in the ground.  She made the calls to get funding from local and state donations.  It's an official Oklahoma Centennial project.

"We've spent the last three years kind of making our way to make it into something the whole world can enjoy," she says.  Ferguson says it's something that will help tell the story of her family for years to come.  "Now our children are beginning to get into it and they think it's pretty cool and to do it on Centennial Day, I think was just perfect," she says.

The discovery of the Outlaw Cave brought officials from the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History at OU.  Inside the 10x10 dugout they found cedar beams bracing the walls, bricks and even bottles - perhaps even used by the Marlow brothers themselves.

The cave won't be open all year round, but during holidays and city events, the Chamber of Commerce says they'll make sure people can come in to see this great piece of Marlow's past.