xt7p5h7bsf87 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7p5h7bsf87/data/mets.xml  1913  books b92-134-29324022 English Louisville & Nashville Railroad, Passenger Dept., : [Louisville, Ky.] : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Mammoth Cave (Ky.) Colossal Cavern (Ky.) Caves Kentucky. Subterranean wonders  : Mammoth Cave, Colossal Cavern, Kentucky. text Subterranean wonders  : Mammoth Cave, Colossal Cavern, Kentucky. 1913 2002 true xt7p5h7bsf87 section xt7p5h7bsf87 

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Colossal Cavern

Louisville  Nashville Railroad

Sewvntnth Edition-Nw Series





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               DRAWN By
            ". C. HOVEY


                          i                 CQUgoL

1. Chinese Wall. 2. Entranue to New Discovery. 3. En.
  trancetoWldGooe Ahab and River Region. 4. Uncle
  Tom's Pool. 5. Lizard Spring. 6. Twin Pit. 7. Ruins
  of Carthage. 8. Rock Island. 9. Sandsione Tumble-
  down. 10. Ruins of Martinique. IL Begister Avenue.
  12. Starry eavens and Milky Way, 13. Bearskin Robe.
  14. Phosphate Mountain. 165 Hull of the Great West-
  er. 16. Catacombs. 17. Pulpitolok. 18. CascadePit.
  19. Pearly Pol. 20. Kangaroo Bend.



              'HE wonderful work of water in sculptur-
                ing the surface of the earth is matter
                of common observation and of common
                remark. Hill and valley, gorge, canon
                and waterfall, all have been seen in
                intimate relation; no rock so hard that
it can forever resist the action of the stream; no
mountain mass so great that it will not some time yield
entirely to water; no valley so deep it may not be
graven deeper or even filled to top by the transporting
power of running streams. These changes all occur on
the surface, and from our familiarity with them fail,
often, to engage our close attention.
   But there is no rock so dense that through it water
will not pass; no union of particles so intimate but the
secret chemical processes of the world beneath can
sever them; no place where all conditions of ordinary
change associated with surface laws are so variable as in
the underground world.
   The visitor to these caverns must not forget the
surface world when he walks through their immense
gorges, their magnificent avenues, their Titanic halls,
their star-bedecked domes. On every hand he will see
a wealth of features which always emphasize the aspects
of the outer world and explain them in a new language.

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He will see solution so slow that it is measured by tens
of thousands of decades; he will note crystallization so
tedious that he will be driven to madness should he
attempt to compass the years that have passed since the
process began.  Should he question the fossil forms
which sometimes thickly stud the cliffs and ledges along
which he will pass, they might tell to him a story beside
which the wildest creation of the Orient would appear
but as a tale of the nursery. In a thousand ways will
he be impressed with the persistency of Nature's force-
ful methods.  If he be a man accustomed to reflection
he will come to the upper world a wiser man; if he be
of poetic turn the sombre shades through which he has
just passed, the great avenues opening beyond into
regions of infinite gloom, the lovely crystals "of purest
ray serene" that reflect the radiance of his light into
still another corner of eternal darkness, and instead of
revealing its outlines or a new beauty but extends its
bounds, then his fancy will take a new direction and his
poems a different tenor.
   Of all the natural wonders none are more interesting
to the present generation than the wonderful caves and
caverns that are to be found in various localities. The
interest in these subterraneous wonders is attested by
the large number of persons who are constantly visiting
them, and the time and money spent by those of a
scientific turn of mind in studying the rocks, air currents
and animal life that exist in these most interesting

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places. Probably the greatest number and most mag-
nificent caverns in the world are found on the North
American continent, most of them being located in the
United States. Thousands of people from this country
and from foreign countries have visited Mammoth Cave,
Wyandotte Cave and the Luray Caverns, and innumer-
able articles descriptive of them have appeared in
various newspapers, magazines and booklets in recent
years. The one locality in this country in which is to
be found without doubt the greatest number of caverns
is in Edmondson County, Kentucky, about ninety miles
south of Louisville. Underlying nearly the whole
county are innumerable caves, some vast in extent, some
small. It is said that there are not less than ninety caves
within this limited territory that have been explored.
Mammoth Cave is the largest of them all; Colossal
Cavern the next largest in extent, but far more mag-
nificent and beautiful.

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MAM MOTH                           CA V E

              AMMOTH CAVE owes its discovery to
                an accident, so the story goes, which
                happened in the year 1809. It is the
                old story of a hunter and a bear, the
                pursuer and the pursued. The bear
                was wounded and sought its lair in a
vain endeavor to escape. Hutchins, for such was the
hunter's name, lost no time in acquainting others with
this important discovery, and Mammoth Cave became
both a fact of history and of science.  It is strange to
relate that its first exploitation was connected with simply
mercenary motives and that saltpetre, intended for use
in gunpowder and connected with the war of 1812, was
the incentive that led to more complete examination.
The men who mined the soft soil, rich in nitre, are the
men who first gave to the outside world any reliable in-
formation of the great extent of this now famous world's
wonder. Albeit their stories savored of the wonderful
to an extent that many pronounced them romances, a
knowledge of the cave that was really quite exact became
common property and the immense cavern soon took its
place among the great natural features of Earth.
   A visit to Mammoth Cave constitutes a unique expe-
rience in one's search of pleasure and the marvelous.
From the moment of arrival at the quaint old hostelry,

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which dates so far back toward the beginning of the
century that it is really a part of the history of the
cavern, to the last backward look which is always given
when the top of the rough stairway of rock, at the
entrance, is reached on the return from the depths, there
is continuous surprise, new experience, pleasant mem-
ories, not altogether unmixed with regret.     The
surroundings are not very unlike those which the first
visitors saw. The old lumbering stage-coach has given
way to the modern railway, with its comforts and speed;
the trees of the forest are larger, but just as numerous;
the wild flowers spring up as abundantly and liven the
laadscape as charmingly now as formerly; the woods
are as full of feathered songsters; the neighboring river
as prolific in brilliant and graceful fish, the cliffs which
line its course as grand and glorious as when Hutchins
first shot that famous bear.
   Within the cavern the changes which have occurred
since the days of saltpetre mining are less conspicuous
still. In every essential respect the visitor sees the
same features, the same angles, the same crystals-save
where early vandal hands have robbed some of the
alcoves and halls of their beautiful forms-the same
springs gush forth from dark recesses, and the same
streams disappear with many a dash and reverberation
into the same pits and darksome crevices. The very
pipes and supports used by the workers in " peter-dirt"
stand now as when left by them nearly a century ago.

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The famed houses in which the unfortunate consump-
tives sought relief from a malady which alone needed
sunshine for momentary respite, but which no skill or
art of man could stay, still stand on the left in the great
recess called the Main Cave. The tracks made by feet
of patient oxen and ruts worn by wheel of creaking
wagon still remain to tell of underground toil in a gloom
not less than that of famed Tartarus. The rock piled
high on either side for a distance of a half mile or more
tell of the work needed to get the much-sought nitrate
to the upper world.   Rude hieroglyphic scratches on
walls tell of Bishop, of Brantsford, of Miller and others
who first sought to unravel the mysteries of its branch-
ing avenues or to sound the depths of its solitary
recesses.  Occasionally, even yet, fragments of half-
burned reeds, a lost moccasin, a wooden bowl, tell of
visits of aborigines long before foot of civilized man had
awakened the echoes of the lofty domes. Change there
has been, but it is so slow, so secret, if one please, that
impressions formed three-quarters of a century ago are
paralleled by those which are awakened to-day. There
is only that change which comes from wider acquaint-
ance with the windings of the chambers into those that
are new and formerly unknown, a change which makes
the visitor despair of ever fully unraveling all the rela-
tions of the passages and crevices along which he
joarneys or through which he crawls.     The same
massive rocks, scattered in the same profusion, meet

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the eye on every hand, for the cave has been preserved
in all its beauty as an original work of nature. The
bridges over rivers and stairs leading up impassable
cliffs, the iron guards along places of danger, alone tell
the visitor of the work of man.
   If the visitor enter the great cavern in company
with a chemist he will come forth well versed in
Nature's secrets.  For here he will learn how water
charged with carbon dioxide has served as Nature's
graving tools. On the roofs and walls h-q will discover
the effects which iron and manganese oxides yield on a
background of gray limestone.   He will learn some-
thing of crystallization and the beautiful forms which
these masses of sulphate of lime and calcite assume. If
he stop in the Fairy Grotto, or tarry along Gothic
Avenue, or venture into some of the unfrequented pas-
sages miles away from the natural entrance, he will face
enormous stalactites and tread upon massive stalagmites,
the beginning of which dates thousands of years back of
the Christian era. In Martha's Vineyard, beyond the
rivers, he will see those wonderful botryoidal forms of
calcite which give to the locality its name. If he go far
within Crystal Avenue he will learn how those wonder-
ful acicular crystals of gypsum grow and spread out into
a thousand fantastic forms and simulate the flowers of
the upper world, but whose petals are gigantic in com-
parison. Now and then he will see these fanciful beauties
growing in plain defiance of the laws of gravitation


and bending and twisting in a thousand devious ways.
In the almost complete absence of water lie will wonder
how these forms were originally put into solution,
and ask how are reproduced those beautiful crystals
which fall, as white and silently as flakes of snow, at a
sudden loud sound or echo.    He will wonder at the
thousands of cubic yards of solid rock which have been
removed, and when he returns to the upper world and
visits the laboratory of his chemist friend he will be
chagrined at the puny processes of art.
   It is impossible to mention, less possible to describe,
all the objects of interest to visitors in this most gigantic
cavern of the world. In no respect have its attractions
failed to meet the expectations of the intelligent visitor.
To the unintelligent its story is as little understood as
would be the famous lyrics of Homer or the marble
poems of Praxitiles.  The shells and corals which dot
the walls of Echo River or boss the smooth walls of
Gorin's Dome tell a story to those alone who have some
intimate acquaintance with Nature. The blind insects-
beetles, crickets, mites, gnats-the eyeless fish and
crustaceans and leeches, the snow-white toadstools, all
are meaningless to those who have never questioned the
physical cause of vision. The naturalist will find here a
paradise-forms of life that are unique, that range from
vertebrate to worm, and these all tell him a story of
antiquity and of life-law that only a naturalist may inter-
pret. But if the visitor seeks the grand and impressive,

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if there be attraction in Stygian blackness, if the un-
canny noises accompanying waters falling in recesses
that have yet escaped search, if the unison of sounds
coming from the dark and unfathomed recesses of Echo
River back to the ear with a harmony and beauty that
no cathedral note ever yet equaled, find a response in
any human heart, then Mammoth Cave will never cease
to attract visitors of every degree and from every land.
   The Echo River is one of the most remarkable feat-
ures in this most remarkable group of wonders. Only a
small portion of its whole course is accessible to visitors,
but this part is truly wonderful. At times the river flows
with almost imperceptible current, while at other times
it fills quite to the top the great River Hall, blotting
out the Dead Sea and the River Styx, both of which are
really parts of the underground stream.  It is traversed
by boats for a distance of quite half a mile, and a ride
over its clear waters is one of the unique experiences of
the world-nowhere else can it be duplicated. The
voyager passes under a low arch for a short space and
then the roof rises rapidly away from the water and he
enters upon his subterranean water-journey in real fact.
Nearly all the river is one vast resonator; its branching
avenues and side crevices, its lofty roof of limestone
rock, its ancient battlemented shores, all serve as reflect-
ors of every sound, no matter how slight, and send it
back intensified a thousand times, with its roughness
blended into one sweet volume of glorious harmony.

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Cop]3]19031 bt. ci, G1a1to

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Kilticmiiilr     ;1iti)   L';lail7lhtlll   Ugatlrlaza

Nowhere on earth, or in it, can such rich tone, coming
back to one with ever diminishing volume as it rolls
down along the unknown halls and is reflected from
secret chamber walls, be heard. Long experience on
the part of the well-trained guides enables the produc-
tion of the right notes to bring forth the wonders of
Echo River, and no visitor hears them but is impressed
with its glories. Time and again, for months, have we
listened to these noble reverberations, until they have
become a part of our musical nature.
   Perhaps the largest single rock to be found, as a
detached mass in the cavern, is the Giant's Coffin. Fact
and fancy alike serve to make it attractive.  Its mass is
very great, and its weight, estimated on its measure-
ments by taking the specific gravity of limestone as com-
monly given, is over two thousand tons. This immense
rock has been torn from the side of the Main Cave, and
when this fact was accomplished, away back in geologic
times, an avenue was revealed which alone had rendered
possible, until William the guide found the Corkscrew,
a visit to the remoter portions of the cavern. The rock
upon which the name of Giant's Coffin has been so well
bestowed is entirely of limestone, with a thickness of
eighteen and a total length of forty-three feet.  The
visitor winds around it on the usual way in which he
goes to the "end of the cave" on the long route. "The
Standing Rocks" are not far removed from this part of
the cavern and have been similarly torn from the roof,


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which is here nearly sixty feet high.   They were
detached at the same time and by the same causes,
whatever they were, that made the Giant's Coffin a fact.
But in falling they struck upon their edge and sank
deeply enough in the material of the bottom to maintain
that position. They are detached masses of limestone
strata nor more than two feet in thickness.
   Far within the great cavern occur many interesting
and fantastic groupings of stalactitic matter that require
but little imagination to conceive them as simulating
familiar objects. Near the end of the remarkable Pass
of El Ghor-a tortuous, narrow, but lofty channel which
marks the work of one of the latest of the underground
streams-the walls above and on each side are one inde-
scribable maze of calcite accumulations. Here, as indeed
is true of all parts of Mammoth Cave where crystalliza-
tion is in progress, the underground traveler proceeds
along a pathway which is not far below the surface of
the ground. The characteristic phenomena which indi-
cate approach to the surface are: first, the dripping of
waters which only enter the channels of this subterra-
nean world at points near the surface; second, the grow-
ing stalactites, which are only at the upper levels; and,
third, the sandstone strata which everywhere, in this
part of Kentucky, cap the subcarboniferous limestone.
When the uppermost limestone layers are worn or dis-
solved away, the sandstones still higher, far more friable
and yielding readily to the separatory power of water,


break away into immense masses or even into piles of
rock, which often completely close the passages and limit
many large avenues.  The magnificent avenue which
opens from the Rotunda, and which, after the celebrated
ornithologist, is named Audubon's Avenue, is entirely
closed at a distance of a half mile by a vast mass of rock
detached, in the manner described, from above.  But a
journey to its end is well worth the time and toil, for
here is Olive's Bower, one of the most convenient of
the smaller recesses in which stalactitic formation may
ble seen in progress; at this locality occur some of the
most beautiful of the growing stalactites. In the middle
of the bower is a well of limpid water, every drop of
which has played its part in adding a mite to the
massive crystals above, and which are reflected from its
mirrored surface. Eventually, through some secret pas-
sage, the water finds a way to the Echo River, whence,
in turn, it reaches the Green River and again circulates
in the world outside.
   In many portions of those two wonderfully intricate
channels known as Spark's Avenue and Pensico Ave-
nue, the tourist may hear reverberations of footfalls and
wonderfully sweet echoes of human voices coming ap-
parently from the depths below. These points, several
of which are particularly excellent, are really crossings
of his own passage way over others still beneath him.
In one certain place in Pensico Avenue the listener
actually stands above a dome which, when he sounds

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a particular note, serves as a gigantic resonance box
and takes up the vibrations of his voice only to send it
back attuned and strengthened a thousand fold. The
very earth beneath him is felt to tremble as the vibra-
tions reach their maximum amplitude; closely listening
one may hear the sweet volume of sound rolling along
avenues yet untrodden by human feet, to be finally lost
in the unknown depths. The celebrated side passage
known as Gothic Avenue presents interesting attractions
which are of a unique character. Among them are the
stalactites which, abundant in this portion of the cavern,
are the largest and most remarkable within its limits.
Curious resemblances or historic and mythologic events
together have conspired to furnish names to the largest
of these. Caesar and Pompey, the Pillar of Hercules,
the Oak Tree, the Bridal Chamber, the Elephants'
Heads and the Wasps' Nests, are among the names
which the fancy of the visitor or the caprice of the
guides has affixed to these relics of former water action.
Except at a single locality this avenue, which is at the
higher level of the cave, is quite dry, and little, if any,
change is now in progress, Beyond the usual terminus,
at the rock called Lovers' Leap, the avenue is quite
closed by a vast mass of sandstone debris fallen from
above. But down the steep hill at which the "short
route" generally ends, leads a pathway which passes
through a narrow passage in the vertical wall to the left,
fifty feet below, into Elbow Crevice-a portion of the


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cavern which should be seen by all visitors. Beyond
the crevice lie the Cooling Tub, Vulcan's Forge, Napo-
leon's Dome, Annetta's Dome, Shaler's Brook-in
which alone are found the snow-white leeches-and
several pits and domes but recently discovered. The
sound of falling waters coming through small passages
to the right or left informs the visitor that in this
portion of the cave the processes of disintegration and
solution are in active progress. From the entrance of
Gothic Avenue to Annetta's Dome the visitor will have
passed from the highest to the third level. Around
him and near him are pits which extend downward to
the level of Echo River, which is not far distant from
this chaotic locality. A hundred objects are here that
command one; there are poems registered in the rocks;
fairy forms of bygone ages that tell of life and sunshine,
and hard-by this frail record of beauty lies a fossil story
of ruin and death. The observer will here find record
of a former world of organisms with whose diminutive
cousins only has he now intimate acquaintance. Here,
in sleep and silence enshrined, they rest, small tattlers
of continental secrets!
   In this portion of the cave the walls best exhibit
those phenomena which are always interpreted as mean-
ing the attrition of matter carried along by running
water. The passages are narrow, but high; they become
broader below. In the dim light of the visitor's lamp the
effect of a perspective drawing is produced on looking

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upward, and the roofs of the avenues appear to be
far away.  Pebbles, derived from a thin layer of con-
glomerate far above, strew the pathway and tell the
story of wear and denudation.  Animal life is not as
abundant in this locality as it is at the higher levels,

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but enough may be found to demonstrate that no portion
of the cavern in which water is found is devoid of some
organic forms.
   Perhaps visitors to Mammoth Cave are most impressed
with the lofty domes and deep pits which are found ill

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some portions of this underground domain. Of those
that are accessible to the visitor without great danger
and fatigue the best known are Gorin's Dome, the
Bottomless Pit, Mammoth Dome, Napoleon's Dome, the
Maelstrom, and Scylla and Charybdis, all but two of
which are situated in that intricate and wonderful portion
called the Labyrinth. The first named is viewed through
a natural circular opening in the wall quite three-fourths
the way from the bottom. Illuminated by the guides
from a point still above that at which the visitor is
stationed, the effect of the brilliant lights on the walls
beyond, white as alabaster, fluted and folded in a thou-
sand curious and fantastic forms, is indescribably grand
and impressive.  Coupled with the great size of the
space, everywhere shading off into infinite gloom, is the
roar of falling water, or the splash of Lilliputian cascades
if seen in the dry season. Below, but beyond observa-
tion, runs a portion of Echo River, into which, from a
station high above that occupied by the guide, it is pos-
sible to throw stones, the fall of which awakens ten
thousand sounds and echoes.    Stalactitic matter, of
purest white, lends variety to the vertical walls; where
this is wanting the method of work of falling water, in
bygone ages, is clearly seen.  Not far away is the Bot-
tomless Pit, and above it, rising sheer to the topmost
level of the cavern, is Shelby's Dome, named for the first
governor of Kentucky. Its bottom, for notwithstand-
ing its name it has one, is nearly two hundred feet below

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the level at which the observer stands. For many years
it was an insurmountable obstacle to further exploration
in this direction until Bishop, the original explorer of
the cave, finally crossed it on a cedar sapling, but not
without great danger.
   This pit is one of three, the other two being Scylla
and Charybdis, well named and in the relation to each
other of those celebrated dangers of mythologic fame.
These two pits are not to be seen by visitors, their
approach being by a devious and dangerous passage
which opens from River Hall, nearly a mile distant.
But of all the pits which the visitor sees, that called
Mammoth Dome is the largest and most impressive.
From top to bottom the distance is nearly two hundred
and eighty feet; while at the end, the Ruins of Karnak,
formerly called the Egyptian Temples, stand out in
bold relief.  These giant columns indeed closely re-
semble the works of art of some long-lost underground
race, and it does not require a very vivid imagination to
see the great recesses and storied walls the scene of
weird activity or to imagine them peopled with myriads
of gnomes and sprites upon whose labors the visitor is
an unwelcome intruder. The Mammoth Dome should
be visited by every person who desires to see water at
work and completing a task begun away back in Earth'q

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               OLOSSAL CAVERN was discovered in
               1895 by Robert Woodson, who was
  9        [ Mjf  searching for a spring. It was first par-
                tially explored by a young man named
     I         Pike Chapman in the fall and winter
                of the same year and in the spring of
1896, since which time more of the cavern has been ex-
plored and a great amount of work done at the entrance
-in the widening of several very narrow passages, the
lowering of the floor in certain places where the space
between the floor and the roof of the cave did not permit
of an easy traveling, and the construction of roads. All
of this work has now been completed and the trip through
the cave can now be made without any great exertion in
about six hours. As yet but few persons have seen the
interior of the magnificent cavern and it stands to-day
practically the same as when first discovered. None of
the beautiful rock formations have been destroyed by
vandals or blackened by the smoke of oil lamps, which
are not used here. In order to preserve the natural
whiteness of the beautiful rock formation it was decided
to use individual acetylene lamps, whose light is much
more brilliant and powerful and which do not give off
the disagreeable smell that arises from oil lamps. Origi-
nally several entrances existed to Colossal Cavern, but

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these were all closed by filling in the entrance with rock
and earth and an entrance made at the extreme west
end of the cavern. This was done for the reason that
the natural entrances were very inconvenient and hard
to reach, the surface land being very rough and hilly.
   The entrance to Colossal Cavern is one and one-half
miles from the entrance to Mammoth Cave and at the
foot of a steep hill facing the west.
   From the surface to the floor of the cave is two
hundred and twelve feet, the descent being made down
well constructed steps in the rock, the passage way
averaging about three feet in width. From the foot of
the steps the avenue in which we find ourselves, and
which is the main avenue of the cave, extends for four
miles in a southeasterly direction to the end of the cave.
All the rock at this level is limestone, and after one's
eyes have become accustomed to the darkness the
remarkable shape of the rocks and marking in the walls
and ceilings attracts the attention. There is possibly
no known cavern where the action of the water and the
force of eruption is as plainly seen as in Colossal Cavern
and in certain localities farther on, particularly in Flor-
ence Avenue the walls are richly decorated. On the
left, about half way down the steps and reached by a
narrow passage about thirty feet in length is the Chinese
Wall, in a room about one hundred feet in diameter
and containing a pool of water, of which the Chinese
Wall is the rim.    The ceiling in this 'chamber is

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covered with thousands of small stalactites, but there are
also several large ones as well as a number of large sta-
lagmites, nearly all perfect and composed of alabaster,
so clear that the light of the lantern can be plainly seen
through them. One of the stalagmites, about six feet
in height, has been named the Pagoda, for its close
resemblance in shape to the sacred towers of the far
East. At a point about two hundred feet beyond the
base of the steps a path diverges to the New Discovery.
   To the right of the path in the main cave is seen
Uncle Tom's Pool, a beautiful spring of clear, cold water
at the base of a small dome. Here will be first noticed


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the perpendicular markings in the rocks at the back and
sides of the dome. Midway between Uncle Tom's Pool
and Lizard Spring and directly in the center of the
avenue, is Standing Rock, a huge piece of limestone
four feet in thickness, eight feet in width and twelve
feet in height. But a short distance beyond, and in a
small grotto, is Lizard Spring. In this spring and
against the far wall is a remarkable image of a large
lizard, composed of flint and nearly black in color. To
the left and on the wall is a large frog stool composed
of the same substance. The passage to Vaughan's Dome
leaves the main avenue just beyond this spring. The


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height of this dome is one hundred and sixteen feet.
The walls are beautifully marked, the marking being
perpendicular. There are really two levels, the first
dry, the floor being covered with sand; at the lower
level, a few feet below the first, will be found a beau-
tiful spring of clear, cold water. The acoustic properties
here are remarkable, the walls of the dome serving as
reflectors of every sound and sending it back in beautiful
harmony, intensified a thousand times.
    Again following the main avenu