Cave house for sale in Festus, MO

$300,000 is the starting bid on this eBay listing for a three-bedroom home built in a 15,000 sqft cave in Festus, MO, formerly a roller-rink/concert venue that entertained the MC5, Ike and Tina Turner and Ted Nugent. Sounds like a hell of a place to live (and you gotta feel for the family that's losing their dream). It's got three freshwater springs and there are fourteen waterfalls on the property. Yowza.

On May 19th, 2008, the City of Festus approved our occupancy inspection for the cave. Officially, this completed our project. There are still projects that can be started, completed and developed. Plenty of room in our 17,000 square foot home.

This is now where we live, work, raise our family and celebrate life! Here are a few of the details about the place: Historic, regionally famous cave: 15,000 square feet, divided into three main chambers.

The front chamber houses the main part of the 3-bedroom finished house.

The middle chamber holds the laundry room, storage, and a spare bath. The middle chamber made a great party room. 80 feet by 80 feet.

The back chamber still has the stage where Ted Nugent, Bob Seger, Ike and Tina Turner, the MC5 and many other bands performed.

Property: 2.8 scenic, partially wooded acres provide excellent privacy and the feel of the country right in the middle of town, just several blocks from shopping, dining, and other conveniences.

Energy efficiency: Geothermal and passive solar keep the home comfortable year-round without a furnace or air conditioning. In spite of the vast size of the home, our energy costs here run about the same as they did in our 800 square-foot starter home. The home naturally stays a little cooler than the average above-ground home, but we found that we acclimated quickly and easily.

Unique Cave Home over 15,000 sf. Beautiful setting

Caveland US (Thanks Fipi Lele!)


  1. This place has a good folklore around it. I used to live in the area and some people talked about it–always consistent with the description in your post. Another feature–according to those descriptions–were the low ceilings, which supposedly made it a weird place for both roller skating (makes you taller) and music concerts.

    I never met anyone who had actually seen it or visited it. So, your post and the photo actually provide some kind of myth confirmation. Thanks.

    It was rumored that George Noory lived there. (He’s the guy who took over Coast to Coast AM from Art Bell).

  2. For sale: Secret cave dwelling, can be converted into impregnable fortress for evil geniuses or secret headquarters for superhero. Spacious quarters for butler/minions.

  3. Build a greenhouse and a hydoelectric generator and you’re all set for the apocalypse, zombie, religious or financial.

    Plus, the sweet lingering scent of the Nooge will discourage other predators.

  4. If you’ve ever been to Festus, you’d know that this really would be a great, secluded location from which to run your evil organization hell-bent on world domination. But be sure you have your own hovercar or something, because Festus is pretty much the definition of “the sticks.” Nice place – don’t get me wrong – but it’s definitely off the beaten path.

  5. I knew of this property before the homeowners built on it, and it was simply amazing then.

    Now I feel for them- they obviously pride themselves in their creation, and it shows in the sheer beauty of living closely with nature, albeit in a way most of us never think to apply that designation.

    I hope they find some sort of resolution to their current woes.

  6. Why in the world did they build 17,000 sq ft!!

    If they had built something sensible they might be able to keep it.

    The people to empathize with are those that lost their job and then lost their “800 square-foot starter home.”

  7. Huge windows, with 2×4 and plywood construction.

    Totally NOT zombie proof.

    And it would burn like a blast furnace.

    (and yet i still lust for it.)

  8. Come on Boing Boing! A little vision is required here, but lemme help you out.

    Boing Boing Bed, Breakfast and Conference Center (BBBB+CC or b^4+c^2), located near friendly Festus, MO. A new Boing Boing enterprise. Corporate retreats, new economy (anyone still use that catchphrase) conferences, writer’s retreats. Video game competitions. Teledildonics seminars. Web 9.0 V.C. fairs.

    Come visit Boing Boing at our new, amazing headquarters. In a cave.

  9. I used to work for this guy’s web company… good man.

    They didn’t BUILD 17,000 sq ft. Its a CAVE. They built a ~2000 sq ft home inside a 15,000 sq ft enclosure… get it? simple math.

  10. Hmmmm. . . how close is this to the Mississippi River, and what’s the spring flooding like in that area? I can see the dream home becoming a watery death trap.

  11. This has been my dream house in my mind for years- building into a rock cliff, with a cave to boot! Seriously, my daydreams constantly go toward a house EXACTLY like this.

    Too bad I never hit the lottery.

  12. Having lived in St. Louis for twenty years(Festus is just outside STL) I must say that this was the best kept secret, and sadly, the best thing Festus has to offer by a light year. Festus is the most redneck, backwards, creepy city in a state that still has cities without minorities…which is no accident. I moved to the west coast a few years ago, and the best site of my life was seeing the Festus water tower in my rear view mirror.

  13. I knew that the economy was bad, but I didn’t know it was getting to the point where even Bruce Wayne had to get rid of his summer home.

  14. I lived in Festus for 20 years, and I’m a minority. I also have never seen or heard about that house. Weird.

    The town got its name from the Bible. They had someone randomly open up the Bible, and the first word they pointed to was going to be the town name. I think it’s in Acts somewhere.

  15. Hate to be a gloomy Gus, but I think this is likely to be a disused lead mine. Probably not a good place for regular habitation.

  16. I use to live in Crystal City which is right across the highway from Festus. I saw Ted Nugent at caveland. Festus actually was a name picked out of the bible. The roller rink that use to be there was awesome!!!!

  17. You know that warm tickely feeling you sometimes get in your gut when seeing something really awesome that you would love to experience? Yeah, totally got that here. Awesome. If there was any way for me to actually move to (and enjoy) Festus then I’d be seriously interested. Even the price is OK. But I have a business and life hundreds of miles away – and the industry I’m in is not portable in the least.

    BBReader, they didn’t “build” 17k sf, they walled in a cave. A cave that was already there.

  18. I used to work for him too. It’s a great home build with care and really great family. I hope it all works out.

  19. During my “lost years” (early 80s) I hitch-hiked down to Orange Texas. I spent 8 hours under an overpass in Festus. Couldn’t get a ride for nothing. Two rednecks in a rusty pickup let me ride in the bed. I still remember them scaring me to death driving wildly and letting me off at the next exit. Redneck punks. You don’t hear about Festus MO in Philly much but whenever Festus makes the news I still remember bits and pieces of that stinking hot summer day waiting for a ride and the jerkwads that had their redneck laugh on my behalf.

  20. I really hope something works out for this family. This is obviously their dream home (and would be mine, too) and was built with love and intention. What a wonderful place.

  21. beautiful dream home! too bad it’s in festus. no way, jose. i’m about as far from there as i could get for good reason. that sucking sound u hear? festus mo.

  22. 1. not near the river. never flooded before AFAIK. they do have to run a dehumidifier 24/7 because they have a natural spring dripping from the ceiling in the middle of the living room.

    2. probably not a mine, it is cut horizontally into the limestone and does not extend downward at all, plus has lots of headroom (30+ ft in places). Most likely a natural cave expanded by man for storage of things like road salt… but admittedly not sure. something to test for.

    3. Festus is, in fact, a shithole.

    PEWMA == PETE?! DSLabs has a reunion group on Facebook. I just learned of this last week. 12 members so far…

  23. I am so in love with your house . My daughter wishes she could send you money to raise for your balloon note. You will find help where you least expect.May the Universe open wide for you.

  24. google “Festus” and get this for the first and only descriptive line: “General information about the police department and listing of sex offenders.”at

    Looks like a great indoor grow-op setting. You’d need a generator though.

  25. too bad some of the stars that performed there couldn’t come to this family’s aid…well that is if they thoguht it was a cool place then

  26. You know just in case we ever had to hunker down in case a meteor hits the earth, just adding a protective front, it would be, I think a safe place to live in for a few years.

    It would be nice if they could get auction items with the people that performed there, of them performing in there and make some money that way.

    This is something that I could only dream about.

  27. Festus beats out Onan, Jezebel and Nimrod, but not much else. (Dorothy Parker named her bird “Onan”, as he also spilled his seed on the ground).

  28. Everyone forms their own opinions…sounds like Curt is a down-to-earth kind of guy. He’s been offered money to help and doesn’t want to accept it for better use to those without jobs or healthcare.
    He says he uses three commercial grade de-humidifiers that run 40% of the time. I didn’t read about the natural spring that drips right in the middle of the living room that someone had mentioned, but that could be used for an indoor waterfeature or collect for use.
    The place looks and sounds like it has a lot of work to go through before it is complete, including the lake. It certainly has huge potential for the right person. Everything happens for a reason. I’m sure whatever happens will be the best for them. I wish them much luck and success.
    Dixon, Southern IN.

  29. Hello
    It is difficult to find any way to contact this family. I would love this home but could not live in this town. Instead of selling, he should set up a website and paypal account. Ask for donations. More people than you think would be happy to contribute to your dream. Get creative. A donation of $1000 maybe gets your name carved in a wall. $5000 name carved in wall and you can come and take a picture of it, etc. You would get thousands of people willing to contribute $5. It could add up.

  30. Hi Guys
    U have a WONDERFUL home!!!! and i went the photo album at ebay and saw the love lobour and warmth that has gone into this place. U have done an amazing job. i feel really very bad that a house such as yours should come to this. i dont know if this makes sense or is possible, but why dont u sell part of the cave and still keep the house…….. No? i wish u do and i pray that a miracle happens and you all dont have to leave. miracles do happen and some times we need to make them happen.all the very best to all of u and a Big Hug to a family who keeps togatherness and love going.
    Do not give up try and it WILL work out.

  31. The perfect dwelling place for the aspiring evil genius who can’t afford a secret laboratory at the bottom of the ocean, or a volcano lair that inexplicably blows up the moment you die.

  32. Yall be nice about my neighbors. I do not find Festus to be filled with RedNecks. For that matter I know more rednecks in St. Louis than I do here. There are hard working good people in Festus. I don’t mind the 30 min. drive to St. Louis on the occasions that I want a bigger city. The Festus night sky is ten times better looking than St. Louis. We are closer to fishing lakes. We have much less crime and don’t start those damn stats on me either. Our public schools are among the best in the state. We have multiple parks and our own movie theatre. Sounds Like I need to throw a party. Wonder how many folks would show up at a cave party in March or April. I didn’t turn down money, I suggested that I do not deserve flat out charity. I believe we have people in our great country who don’t have food. Who dont have health care, Children without enough cloths. I will get the financing / Loan or I will sell. I like to earn my money. No big deal. Just think charity should be for those that really need it. This is just a house.

  33. I’d like to see it myself were it not for the delightfully hillbob locale. I think I’d always be fearful of falling rocks/debris if I were to live in such a place, though.

  34. What about bugs?
    Caves usually have all kinds of weird insect life that is pretty nasty.
    How stable is it?
    And how about things like radon gas?
    This house looks very cool. They say it is kind of cold, but
    what about trying to heat it? I bet if you try to warm it up it
    would cost a lot.
    It is starting at 300K … so I wonder why they are getting
    rid of it … could it be they do not like it so much.
    I would love a set up like this somewhere other than
    One other thing I would like to know is what direction does the opening wall face … I hope South.
    i’d love to live there with some batteries and solar collectors.

  35. It really seems that a lot of you have not been many places in Missouri, or the rest of the country for that matter, if you think Festus is “in the sticks” and “full of hoosiers and rednecks”. It is a pretty big town, I think it has 20000 residents. It is only 30 minutes from St. Louis and does have a good percentage of minorities, compared to the rest of non-urban MO. I have to wonder if many of you have even been out to this area. I grew up in rural JeffCo and it has come a very long way in the last twenty years. Maybe you all should take a drive to get some more recent info.

  36. I found the map link to this above and checked it out. This cave is right in the middle of town. The photos on the web make it look make it look like it is out in the boonies, but there are houses all around it.

    The area is probably fine, it is just that all the neighbors look like they are very close, and there is a house right on top of the cave as well.

    I would prefer to find something like this way out in the boonies … but then again, it looks like some of it was dug out or quarried. It is huge in to back part of the case from the pictures. My God you could have a sports field back there. What a place for a workshop. But what about ventilation.

    I still wonder about radon gas, or bugs, the practical aspects of living in a place like that. Like if that slab concrete floor has cracks in it.

    Also, someone mentioned the high humidity and cost of constantly running an evaporator.

    Whatever, this is a very interesting looking place.

  37. It’s kind of funny how Festus is supposed to be full of “Rednecks” and be so backwards and yet it has everything that South County has to offer minus the mall and the crime.

    There are plenty of minorities in Festus and the surrounding area and we have been here for many years. I’m a third generation African American who is proud to live in Festus and will definately raise my children here. It sounds like the cultured population of St Louis needs to open their minds and stop being the real “Rednecks”.

  38. Doc, that cave house in Bisbee snagged my heart, especially the part about it being in a natural watershed and having two big storage tanks.

    Ill Lich, your question about flooding got an eyeball message from one of the locals:

    Ill Lich asked about the location and flood potential of the former Caveland Roller Rink. Well, it’s just under 2 miles due west of the Mississippi River, but it’s built on high ground. The closest floodwater comes from the south and never comes within a mile of the spot. That includes the worst floods of the past 50 years.

    Looks like you get rainwater seepage, but no big river action.

    Thank you, local person!

  39. As a former resident of St. Louis City and County, and as a current resident of the “Twin Cities” (Festus-Crystal City), I’m amused at the comments about Festus being redneck and backward. I saw more prejudice in St. Louis than I ever saw here. The Festus school district was one of the first in the state to integrate, with both black students AND TEACHERS coming to the district just months after Brown vs. Board of Education. The football field is named after a retired black head coach. In many St. Louis schools, the only minorities are the ones bused in from the inner city. And the guy from the Left Coast calling us prejudiced? Has he been to LA in the last 30 years? Hello? Sen. Bill Bradley grew up here, as did coreographer Tony Stevens, several pro baseball players, The Bottle Rockets band, and others. There are definitely worse places to live.

  40. I live 25 minutes away from the home outside of St Louis, and flipped when I saw the eBay auction and pictures of the home. I loved the idea of living in a 17,000 sq ft cave, and it looked like it was really nice.

    My impression of the place today was much different. The grounds were in terrible condition, scrap metal, junk, broke rusted vehicles, and very poorly taken care of.

    The home itself wasnt professionally built, but put together by Mr Sleeper and his freinds. It definately showed. The edges of the front of the home were sealed with liquid insulation and drooling down the front of the home.

    Mr Sleeper didnt seem as humble as he was on the news spot. When I asked what he wanted to close on the home, he said his magic number would be $1 Million. This coming from a man that invested around 20% that amount, and is close to loosing everything.

    His 17,000 sq ft home, is actually only 5,000 sq ft (so he says) unfinished, with the remaing 12,000 or so being just a tunnel traveling down the cave and unlivable.

    A mortgage will never be acheived on the place, which is his real issue. The fact is, a home like this will never pass inspection with huge issues of humidity, and gases that the cave emmits.

    Whomever is seriously considering this place, had better be ready to drop some major money on controlling all of the issues that come with a cave, before it can pass an inspection. Which from Mr Sleeper, also consists of a $50,000 cost to shock test the property. Not to mention the fact, that the new owner will need to be paying with cash.

    I hope him the best, and that his family doesnt loose their home. But the reality is, he only needs $80,000 or so to keep it, and I’m not sure the property is worth that much.

  41. Festus is just south of St. Louis and is in a very scenic area that is growing. Lot of new construction going on in Jefferson County.

  42. I would like to clear up a few items. Dear anonymouse “Local Investor”

    1. Magic Number? Don’t have one. Some times you raise the price rather than sell to jerks hopeing to prey on people in need.

    2.Mortgage has already been recieved the first time without the house.

    3. There are no “Major Money issues” related to house.

    4. My home has already passed full inspections throughout the construction process including occupancy pemit.

    5. The cave does not emmit gas, nor does it have huge issues of hummidity.

    6. No it does not require a 50,000 shock test

    7. Mr. Sleepers friends are professionals, The edges of the home are sealed with “Great Stuff” the exapansion foam prevents direct contact with rock and wood.

    8. No where in my cave is it “Unlivable”

    9. You almost had me on the yard except there are no rusted vehicles on the property for sale. The scrap metal and other items were from a clean up in the middle chamber since some one showed up with out calling on the day we were cleaning our home to show to people.

    So sorry you were not happy with my home. So glad you left.

  43. Absolutely amazing. I came by your home feeling bad it was by suprise, but I think it really showed the reality of the situation over the hype that has grown on the Auction and TV publicity. Sorry my opinions of the property were harsh, I was honestly unsettled after you said what your going price was considering your investment.

    And as for my other comments on the Shock Test, Humidity, gases, those were all straight from facts you gave me. I dont know nearly enough facts on cave living to make those up.

    You honestly deny what you said while I was there?

    Interested parties, be cautious, everything isnt what it appears with this place or the seller…

  44. To #19 While the Mississippi does flood Festus every few years, Caveland has never flooded.

    To #66 If the cave “emitted gasses” as you think it does, I wonder why no one died during the many concerts and roller skating sessions it had over the years. I know why……There are no gases emitted. DOH!

    I learned how to roller skate at Caveland back in the 1970s. Gawd I loved that place.

  45. “local investor”
    Yes I deny your claims. I have never said the home emits gas of any kind. Anyone can look up with the city of Festus the FACT that I already have an approved Occupancy Permit. +++

    I do not understand why you have choosen my family as a personal mission of attack. If you have any real questions or concerns feel free to contact me in private. This is silly.

    Curt Sleeper

  46. local “investor”

    I spent 2 hours at the site today and frankly none of your comments are accurate. I made an appoinment to see the house and drove 300+ miles from suburban Chicago to see it. The place was amazing, well thought out and built like a fortress enclosed in a cave. The pictures are very cool but seeing this place and actually getting to tour the whole site was beyond amazing. This was the first time I met Curt and he was nicer in person than in the video clips and his family was wonderful.

    Maybe you should let people form their own opinion of the property instead of putting it down because you could not steal it away from a very nice family. Next time take a hint when someone would like you off of their property. I have some property in Florida and in suburban Chicago and if you knocked on my door without an appointment and then gave me an attitude you would have left with more than hurt feelings. Don’t bother replying to this as I won’t waste my time with you. If your looking for a fire sale try the stock market………….plenty of things on sale every day.

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