An eternal love story plays out each night at the one of the city’s most iconic breweries. According to a tale told by generations of Miller employees so often that it was recognized in the company’s 100th anniversary document collection, the Miller Caves are haunted by a pair of young lovers.
The underground caves were used to keep beer cold in the era before the brewery had mechanical refrigeration. When the introduction of refrigeration made the caves obsolete, the onetime storage area became a popular spot for employees to escape the blistering heat of summers on the brewery floor. Workers would slip into the cool, stone-cobbled caves to eat lunch, and, if you believe the gossip, arrange trysts in the icy shadows of the dark walkways.
During a summer long ago, it is said a young brewery worker and his sweetheart met each Saturday night at the mouth of the caves to walk hand in hand in the underground structure. The couple happily passed the summer with their fingers entwined as they wandered through the dim passageways.
The legend continues that on a late-summer evening, the young woman waited for her beau at the opening of the cave for his shift at the brewery to end, as she had done each Saturday for months. When he did not appear promptly, she thought perhaps he had work that needed to be finished and would be along shortly. As she waited, the minutes turned into an hour. Eventually, she accepted that he was not going to arrive, and she left the caves, alone.
By the time she arrived home, she received word that the young man had fallen in the staircase of the caves, striking his head on a stone, and rendering him unconscious. The girl rushed to her lover’s side, but the young man never regained consciousness, and died soon after. Distraught over the loss, she fell into a despair so deep that her health began to suffer. Within months, the girl who had spent a happy summer in the Miller Caves with her sweetheart was buried in her grave. A doctor determined her death was caused by a lung ailment, yet those who knew the one-time happy couple were convinced that she died of a broken heart.
Shortly after the death of the girl, brewery workers reported seeing two luminous figures, shimmering at the cave’s entrance. As the days passed, other employees noted hearing bits of conversation and laughter from what appeared to be empty caves. Security guards claimed to hear the sound of footsteps in the corridors, yet when they followed the sounds, no people could be found. This strange activity was deemed to be paranormal by the employees, who attributed these happenings to this pair of lovers, now reunited in death at the hideaway they enjoyed during a romantic summer long ago. Many believe, to this day, these ghostly lovers remain, hand in hand, still strolling through the caves where they fell in love.
The Historic Miller Caves are open to visitors. Consult MillerBreweryTour.com for information on planning a visit.