Located in the scenic palisades along the Kentucky River between Jessamine and Mercer counties of Kentucky.
A dynamite expert who went by the name "Tunnel" Smith helped Chinn blast out a hole in a cliff near U.S. 68, where Chinn hung out a sign that read, "Chinn's Cave House."
There were four gas pumps out front to fuel the new Model-A Fords that passed, and diners could enjoy the signature ham sandwiches and foot-long hot dogs Chinn and his wife, "Cotton," prepared. The sandwiches were so inexpensive that some customers wondered how Chinn made any money.
The truth was, he had two or three slot machines off the main bar and grill -- a tiny, Depression-era, off-track, riverside, underground gambling operation, if you will.
Penny slot splashes
At one time he had a penny slot machine, but tossed it into the river off the bridge after becoming concerned that youngsters might get hooked on gambling at the penny slot. He didn't want that on his conscience, his grandson, Howard "Buddy" Howells, told me.
A popular story in Mercer County has it that Chinn eventually did get hauled into court, accused of operating a game of chance at the Cave House. But he is said to have gotten the case dismissed after proving to the court that his slots had been adjusted so as to allow for no "chance" -- of winning.
Chinn gave up the Cave House business after a few years and served as a bodyguard for Gov. A. B. "Happy" Chandler during his first term among many other ventures and accomplishments.
-(Excerpt of a story from Byron Crawford's column which appears on the Metro page Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays of the Courier Journal.)