May 03, 2022
A unique property on the market in Lancaster County is drawing some extra attention for its unique, cave-like basement.
The home in Marietta, in the northwestern part of the county, is listed for $297,000 in an area that has a diverse mix of properties. The single-family residence at 434 E. Market St. has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, with wooden beams accenting the home and a decent-sized backyard.
"It's a really cool property. They made an open concept feel, and then in the basement, there's that cave or cavern, or they're calling it the Bat Cave," said Natalia Latsios, the real estate agent handling the sale with Century 21 Home Advisors.
The history of the cave, which connects to the home's living room, isn't entirely clear. The house was built in 1900, decades after the peak years of the Underground Railroad in Lancaster County, but it's possible that the cave predates the construction of the home. The back of the cave was once connected to other tunnels that went underneath Marietta. It may have been used primarily for various storage purposes.
"I saw a couple people have said it might have been an old coal chute of Marietta's near the water," Latsios said. "It could have been a place where they stored ice once upon a time. As far as I know, there's a lot of history that could have been involved with the cave."
The current owners of the property haven't used the cave for any specific purpose, but Latsios noted that the architecture was designed to preserve the structure well over time.
"The top of the cave, all of the rocks are sort of formed together and it apparently gets tighter over the years," she said. "I guess gravity just tightens the rocks."
Latsios said the property's unique characteristics made it a bit challenging to price, but it falls into an average range for the area. Marietta has townhomes that start at around $150,000 and everything else up to big, historic homes that sell above $500,000.
The home with the cave has been on the market for about a month, compared to an average in Lancaster County of about 20 days before a home sells. The property may appeal to history buffs, and Latsios said it could also make a good Airbnb if the borough allows for it.
"It's close to Lancaster, York and Harrisburg," Latsios said. "That might be a cool option for somebody and I think that would be a selling point."