Media Center

Robber's Cave Listed as Historic Place

Contact: Chris Goforth
Telephone: 402-471-3262
Cell: 402-219-3597



Robber's Cave Listed on National Register of Historic Places

Lincoln, NE - 04/02/2020 - Visitors to Robber’s Cave in Lincoln might first notice the signatures and graffiti of past explorers that riddle its sandstone walls. These carvings tell the unique story of the cave’s legacy as a place for social activities, both legal and illegal. Despite its mundane origin as storage for the Lincoln Brewery from 1869 to 1872, the cave has become a rich repository for folklore. Due to its significant role in local history, History Nebraska is pleased to announce Robber’s Cave is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Matt Hansen, a volunteer who prepared the nomination, feels that listing the cave on the National Register is long overdue. “Growing up in Lincoln, I had heard stories about Robber’s Cave, but the property was closed during that time, and I didn’t have an opportunity to experience the cave until the spring of 2018,” says Hansen. “Seeing it in person, combined with the 2018 release of Joel Green’s book, Robber’s Cave: Truth, Legends, Recollections, caused me to realize that the cave was an amazing historic resource that needed to be listed on the National Register.” 

Hansen used old newspaper clippings to prepare the nomination as well as the help of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Civil and Environmental Engineering to generate an “amazingly-accurate mapping of the cave for the first time” by using LIDAR scanning technology. By preparing this nomination, Hansen has given a gift to future generations who might be interested to learn more about this intriguing place. 

David Calease from History Nebraska’s State Historic Preservation Office considers this a special nomination. “The listing of Robber’s Cave demonstrates the diversity of the National Register. Too many people think it is just fancy homes and big downtown buildings. We have a diverse set of historic resources that are significant to our history. Whether it is a building, a bridge, or a cave, they need to be recognized and preserved to understand our history better.”

Four other locations were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Carnegie Library in Arcadia, the former Winnetoon Public School, the former Plattsmouth High School, and an archeology site near Humphrey were added as Historic Places.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s inventory of properties deemed worthy of preservation.  It is part of a national program to coordinate and support local and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect the nation’s historic and archeological resources. Properties listed in the National Register are eligible for State and Federal tax incentives. For more information on the National Register program in Nebraska, contact History Nebraska’s Historic Preservation Office at (402) 471-4775 or visit 


Photo 1: Courtesy photo by Craig Chandler. Robber’s Cave during Dr. Richard Wood’s LiDAR Scanning Project, 2019. 
Photo 2: Courtesy photo from History Nebraska. Frank H. Woods Pioneer Telephone Museum “Accounting Department Party”, 1946. 

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska collects, preserves, and shares Nebraska’s history for all people.  History Nebraska operates the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln and historic sites around the state including Chimney Rock National Historic Site, Fort Robinson History Center, Neligh Mill State Historic Site, Thomas Kennard State Historic Site, Senator George Norris State Historic Site, John Neihardt State Historic Site, and over 500 historical markers placed across Nebraska. History Nebraska administers the State Archives and Library; the State Historic Preservation Office; the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center; the Office of the State Archeologist; publishes Nebraska History Magazine and books; and is responsible for the administration of the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission. More at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.