Family Owned for over 100 years
Ida Mathis along with several business partners purchased the cave in 1910. Ida Mathis had a big vision for this cave, and had planned to mine it’s gem stone quality onyx. Through an unfortunate turn of events, the American market for onyx turned sour. Ida Mathis felt the land had deeper value than monetary gain and purchased the other shares from the other business partners.
The cave has been stewarded by the Mathis family for over 100 years. In 1975, Ida Mathis' great grandson Allen W. Mathis III started the development of DeSoto Caverns. He and his wife Danielle are the first in the family line to open the land up to the public as a tourist attraction. They believed that their privately owned Caverns was a national and local treasure that needed to be experienced by the public. Al Mathis was the first in his family to develop the park for the public and over forty years later both Al and his Danielle are still involved with the management and future development of the park. In 2015, a fifth generation of Ida Mathis’ started managing DeSoto Caverns. Mr. Mathis’ daughter, Joy, is now the President and her husband, Jared, is the Chief Visionary Officer. They are currently collaborating with a team of incredible individuals of how to make DeSoto Caverns an unforgettable experience.