xt7z08635g8m https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7z08635g8m/data/mets.xml  19  books b92-134-29323993 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.Haskin, Frederic J. (Frederic Jennings), 1872-1944. Subterranean wonders  : Mammoth Cave, Colossal Cavern, Kentucky. text Subterranean wonders  : Mammoth Cave, Colossal Cavern, Kentucky. 19 2002 true xt7z08635g8m section xt7z08635g8m 


:ok Distribution through the Newspapers Represented by Frederic J. Haskin.


                 The Caves of Kentucky
    The recent suggestion that the great cave region of Kentucky
be made into a National Park has attracted new attention to a land
which has been known for more than a century as one of the great
natural wonders of the United States. The National Park System
in the far west has developed on lands owned by the federal govern-
ment, and hence the system has been created without original
purchase cost. The east, south and middle west also have their
wonderlands, and an offer to donate to the United States a large
part of the private holdings in thle cave area has stimulated the
movement to make this a National Park.
    The cave region is in central Kentucky, about ninety miles
south of Louisville, and readily accessible by railroad and highway.
It has attracted many visitors constantly since its discovery in the
early part of the nineteenth century. Additional discoveries have
been made in recent years, and probably the whole extent of the
underground labyrinth is not yet known.
     In addition to its attractions to the tourist, the cave region has
been a source of much valuable study by geologists. The largest
units in the cave system are the well known Mammoth Cave, and
the more recently discovered Colossal Cavern.

           The Haskin Information Service
     Upon request, the Passenger Department of the Louisville and
Nashville Railroad has prepared this edition for distribution through
the newspapers represented by Frederic J. Haskin.
     The Haskin Information Bureau has a great many other educa-
tional booklets for distribution.
    This Bureau also answers all questions of information for readers
of the newspapers it serves. It does not give advice on legal, medical or
financial questions, but answers- all questions of fact. It does not
attempt to settle domestic troubles nor undertake exhaustive research.
There is no charge for answering questions, because the Bureau is main-
tained by a large group of newspapers for the use of the public.
    Write your question plainly and briefly.  Give full name and
address and enclose two cents in stamps for return postage. All replies
are sent direct to the inquirer.
                             FREDERIC J. HASKIN, Director,
                                     Washington, D. C.








                  Subterranean Wonders
       'HE wonderful work of water in sculpturing 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.
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. Could 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 as but a tale of the nursery.
In a thousand ways will he be impressed with the persistency of
Nature's forceful 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 subterranean
wonders is attested by the large number of persons who are con-





stantly 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 places. Probably the greatest
number and most magnificent 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 innumerable 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 Edmonson
County, Kentucky, about ninety miles south of Louisville. Under-
lying 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. Mam-
moth Cave is the largest of them all; Colossal Cavern the next
largest in extent but far more magnificent and beautiful.






                  MAMMOTH CAVE

       AMMOTH CAVE owes its discovery to an accident, so the
         story goes, which happened in the year 1809. It is the
    I    kold 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 exploita-
tion 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
the outside world any reliable information 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 experience in
one's search of pleasure and the marvelous. From the moment
of arrival 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 exper-
ience, pleasant memories, 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 forests are
larger, but just as numerous; the wild flowers spring up as abundantly
and liven the landscape 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 the "peter-dirt"
stand now as when left by them nearly a century ago. The famed





houses in which the unfortunate consumptives 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 branching 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 today.
There is only that change which comes from wider acquaintance
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 relations of the passages and crevices
along which he journeys or through which he crawls. The same
massive rocks, scattered in the same profusion, meet 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 he will discover the effects
which iron and manganese oxides yield on a background of gray
limestone. He will learn something of crystallization and the
beautiful forms which these masses of sulphate of lime and calcite
assume. If he stops in the Fairy Grotto, or tarries a!ong Gothic
Avenue, or ventures into some of the unfrequented passages 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 wonderful acicular crystals
of gypsum grow and spread out into a thousand fantastic forms and



           1 II


simulate the flowers of the upper world, but whose petals are gigantic
in comparison. 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 he 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 expec-
tations 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 Praxiteles. 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 interpret. But if the visitor seeks the grand and impressive, if
there be attraction in Stygian blackness, if the uncanny 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 from every land.
   The Echo River is one of the most remarkable features 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 subter-
ranean 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 reflectors
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. 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 production 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
   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 measurements by taking the specific gravity of limestone as
commonly 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 has 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, 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 not 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 indescribable maze of
calcite accumulations. Here, as indeed is true of all parts of Mam-






moth Cave where crystallization is in progress, the underground
traveler proceeds along a pathway which is not far below the surface
of the ground. The characteristic phenomena which indicate
approach to the surface are: first, the dripping of waters which
only enter the channels of this subterranean world at points near the
surface; second, the growing stalactites, wh:ch 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 dissolved away, the sand-
stones still higher, far more friable and yielding readily to the separa-
tory 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 be 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 passage, the water finds a way to the Echo
River, whence, in turn, it reaches the Green River and again cir-
culates in the world outside.
   In many portions of those two wonderfully intricate channels
known as Spark's Avenue and Pensacola Avenue, the tourist may
hear reverberations of footfalls and wonderfully sweet echoes of
human voices coming apparently from the depths below. These
points, several of which are particularly excellent, are really cross-
ings of his own passage way over others still beneath him. In one
certain place in Pensacola Avenue the listener actually stands above
a dome which, when he sounds 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 vibrations 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 the names of
the largest of these. Cesar 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 cavern which should be seen by all
visitors. Beyond the crevice lie the Cooling Tub, Vulca'n's Forge,
Napoleon'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 a 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 meaning 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 upward,
and the roofs of the avenues appear to be far away. Pebbles,
derived from a thin layer of conglomerate 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, 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 in 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 sta-
tioned, the effect of the brilliant lights on the walls beyond, white
as alabaster, fluted and folded in a thousand 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 observation, runs a portion
of Echo River, into which, from a station high above that occupied
by the guide, it is possible 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 the work of falling water in bygone ages, is clearly
seen. Not far away is the Bottomless 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 notwithstanding
its name it has one, is nearly two hundred feet below the level at
which the observer stands. For many years it was an insurmount-
able 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 resemble 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's history.





                 COLOSSAL CAVERN
        OLOSSAL CAVERN was discovered in 1895 by Robert
          Woodson, who was searching for a spring. It was first
          partially explored by a young man named Pike Chapman
          in the fall and winter of the same year and in the spring
          of 18, since which time more of the cavern has been
          explored 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 easy traveling, and the construction
of paths. All of this work has been conipleted, and the trip through
the cave can now be made without any great exertion in about five
or six hours. As yet but comparatively few persons have seen the
interior of this magnificent cavern, and it stands today practically
the same as when first discovered, few, if any, of the beautiful rock
formations have been destroyed by vandals. Originally several
entrances existed to Colossal Cavern, but 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 probably 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
therein, particularly in Florence Avenue, the walls are richly deco-
rated. 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 covered with thousands of small stalactites; there are
also several large ones and a number of large stalagmites, 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 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 height of this dome is one hundred and sixteen
feet. The walls are beautifully marked, the markings being perpen-
dicular. 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 beautiful 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