Harry T. (Harry Taylor) Gause.

Detailed description of scenes and incidents connected with a trip through the mountains and parks of Colorado, as accomplished by H.B.B. Stapler and Harry T. Gause, July 21-August 20, 1971 online

. (page 13 of 14)
Online LibraryHarry T. (Harry Taylor) GauseDetailed description of scenes and incidents connected with a trip through the mountains and parks of Colorado, as accomplished by H.B.B. Stapler and Harry T. Gause, July 21-August 20, 1971 → online text (page 13 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Giantess. The two larger figures are in a sitting position,
and remarkably natural in outline.

Still further on, the figure of a colossal Mammoth is
apparent, and which is also situated upon the ceiling. The
formation is the same as that of the giant group.

Next we passed a row of stone cottages on the left of the
avenue, which were inhabited by the consumptives, several
years ago. These houses are in a good state of preservation,
with one exception, and in as good order as when occupied.
At some distance beyond the last house, is a small, stone
building, which was used by the patients as a dining apart-
ment, it being constructed at some distance in order to afford
them the benefit of the walk.

The Star Chamber which was next in order, we ap-
proached soon after leaving the Cottages. It is sixty feet in
hight, seventy in width, and about five hundred in length.


The ceiling is composed of black gypsum, and is studded with
innumerable white points, which by dim light, present a most
striking resemblance to stars. These points or stars are
produced, in part, by an efflorescence of sulphate of sodium,
or Glauber's salt, beneath the black gypsum, which causes it
to scale off and, in part, by there having been numbers of
stones thrown against it, by which it is detached from the
white limestone. In the far extremity of the Chamber, a
large mass of it has been separated, and by this means a white
surface has become exposed, forming what is termed the
Comet. You can perceive the nucleus or head, and the tail
of the comet which is perhaps the most wonderfully natural
feature of the whole Cave. When our guide took the lamps
and descended behind the ledge of rocks, by which a cloud is
made to pass slowly across the ceiling, it was difficult for us
to divest ourselves of the impression, that a fearful tempest
was fast approaching. It only needed the flash of lightning,
and the sullen roar of thunder, to make the delusion complete.

After producing the storm cloud, Lee disappeared en-
tirely with the lamps, through a lower archway, several
hundred feet in length, leaving us in total darkness. After
some time, he reappeared at the eastern extremity of the
Star Chamber holding the lights in advance, which, as he
slowly elevated them from the cavern from which he rose,
produced the illusion of the rising sun. We could fancy
ourselves seated upon the edge of some dense forest, watching
the first beams of the rising orb as he peeped over the eas-
tern horizon, as we heard the crowing of the cock, the
barking of dogs, and the morning notes of the lark, which
came in perfect accord from the guide. The Star Chamber
is perhaps, next to Echo River, the most attractive object in
the Cave.


Beyond it, is the Floating Cloud Room, which is the
same size as the Star Chamber, and the Clouds being pro-
duced by the scaling off of the black gypsum from the sulphate
of soda beneath. They appeared to be floating from the Star
Chamber toward the Chief City.

However, before reaching the latter, one enters Procter's
Arcade. This the most magnificent natural tunnel in the
world, being one hundred feet in width, forty-five in hight,
and three quarters of a mile in length. The ceiling is smooth
and walls vertical, looking as though they had been chiseled
out of the solid rock.

When the tunnel is illuminated by magnesium light, the
view at Kinney's arena is magnificent beyond description.
This Arcade is named in honor of Mr. L. J. Proctor, the pro-
prietor of the Cave. Kinney's Arena is one hundred feet
in diameter, and fifty feet in hight. From the ceiling in
the centre of the Arena, there projects a stick, three feet in
length and two inches in diameter, which rests, parallel with
the ceiling, and is inserted into a crevice in the rock. How it
was placed there, is a question which hitherto, it has been im-
possible to answer, inasmuch as it could not have been forced
into the position it now occupies by any artificial means.

After passing "S" Bend, which has no particular points
of attraction, we entered Wright's Rotunda. This rotunda is
four hundred feet in its shortest diameter. The ceiling is
from ten to forty five feet in hight, and is perfectly level, the
apparent difference in hight being produced by the irregularity
of the floor. It is astonishing that this ceiling possesses
strength sufficient to sustain itself, for it is not more than
fifty feet from the surface of the earth. Fortunately, the
Cave at this point, is perfectly dry, and no change of any


kind is transpiring in it ; otherwise, there might be some risk
of its falling in ; as evidences of such occurences are to be
found in the surrounding country.

When this immense area is illuminated at the two ex-
tremities, simultaneously, it presents a most magnificent
appearance. At the eastern limit of the Rotunda is a
column, four feet in diameter, and extending from the floor
to the ceiling, named Nicholas' Monument, after one of the
old guides.

The Fox Avenue, communicates with the Rotunda and
S. Bend. It is about five hundred yards in length, and worth

A short distance beyond Wright's Rotunda, the Main
Cave sends off several avenues or branches. That to the left,
leads to Black Chamber, which is one hundred and fifty yards
wide and twenty in hight, the walls and ceiling of which are
incrusted with black. gypsum. It is the most gloomy room
in the Cave.

There are two avenues leading off to the right. The far
one communicates with Fairy Grotto, which contains a most
wonderful collection of stalagmites. It is a mile in length.
The other avenue communicates with Solitary Cave, at the
entrance to which, is a beautiful little cascade.

Next comes the Chief City, which is situated in the Main
Cave beyond the Rocky Pass. It is about two hundred feet
in diameter, and forty in hight, and the floor is covered at
different points, with piles of rock, which present the ap-
pearance of the ruins of an ancient city. From Chief City
to the end of Main Cave, a distance of three miles, there are
several points, at which, the appearance which this avenue
presents when filled with running water, may be observed,


and where the overhanging cliffs, closely resemble those in
the Pass of El Ghor of recent formation. The Main Cave is
terminated abruptly by rocks that have fallen from above. It
must not, however, be supposed that this is the end of it, for
there can be no doubt that it was closed in the same manner
as Dickson's Cave was terminated, and that the removal of
the obstructing rock, would open a communication with a
cave of the same size as the one I have been attempting to

Having now seen everything of interest this side of the
Main Cave, we returned to the Giant's Coffin, and, from thence
followed yesterdays path, until we reached the Deserted
Chambers. From these, we entered the Labyrinth by des-
cending a pair of wooden steps, some seven feet in hight. It
is a narrow, rugged causeway, and the only object of interest
is the figure of the American Eagle on the left wall a short
distance from the terminus.

Leaving this winding passage, we passed over a Fmall
bridge and, ascending a ladder ten feet high, were in Gorin's
Dome. It is viewed from a natural window situated about
half way between the floor and ceiling of the Dome, and it is
about two hundred feet in hight, and sixty feet across its
widest part. The far side presents a striking resemblance to
an immense curtain, which, in one long sweep, has its first
fold about forty feet from the bottom. This Dome was form-
ed in the same manner as the Side-Saddle Pit. When. the far
end was illuminated with magnesium light by the guide, who
reached an elevated point on the side, by passing through a
small avenue to the right, the view was terribly sublime.
We could plainly distinguish several avenues that communi-
cated with the top and bottom of the Dome, and could see the


masses of jagged rocks, that formed the rim of a frightful pit
in the floor below. This was the grandest dome we had yet
seen, and we sat long in the Natural Window and studied
this wonderful freak of nature, while Lee threw lighted scraps
of paper into the abyss. We could hear the gurgle of water
issuing from the darkness, and feel the cold spray that damp-
ened our faces.

At length, having taken our farewell look at Gorin's
Dome, we started back to the Deserted Chambers. From
there, passing through the Wooden Bowl Cave and Martha's
Palace, past the Side-Saddle Pit and Minerva's Dome, and the
Bottomless Pit and Shelby's Dome, we reached Reveler's
Hall, which we constituted the objective point for another
side trip.

Entering a small opening in the right wall, we soon found
ourselves in Pensacola Avenue which is a mile in length, from
eight to sixty feet in hight and from thirty to one hundred
feet in width.

The Sea Turtle was the first thing that struck our atten-
tion. It is merely a huge mass of rock, shaped in the above
form and thirty feet in diameter. It has long since become
detached from the ceiling and now lies almost flat upon the
floor of the Avenue.

It was not long after leaving the Sea Turtle before we
entered the Wild Hall, which in size and appearance resem-
bles Bandit's Hall.

Bunyan's Way, which communicates with Great Relief,
enters Pensacola Avenue at this point.

Snow-Ball Archway received our attention, when, a few
moments afterward, we stopped a dozen rods further on.


It receives its name from the fact that the ceiling is cov-
ered with little nodules of gypsum like those in the Snow-
Ball Room.

Walking on, we came suddenly upon the Great Crossing
which is a point at which four avenues take their origin. The
first set communicate at an elevation. whichls eight feet be-
low the plane of the other two, thus forming a natural gulch,
which is crossed by means of steps, which are cut out of either

Leaving the Great Crossing, we entered Mat's Arcade.
This avenue is fifty yards in length, thirty feet in width and
sixty feet in hight. Between the floor and the ceiling, there
are four beautiful terraces which extend the full length of the
arcade ; there being also a splendid collection of exquisite
stalactites termed the Pine-Apple Bush, in this remarkable

We came now to Angelico Grotto, the ceiling and walls
of which, are incrusted with crystals of carbonate of lime.
Beyond this grotto at the distance of about half a mile,Pen-
sacola Avenue terminates in a low archway.

Retracing our steps to Reveler's Hall, we had only to
pass down the Scotchman's Trap, squeeze through the Fat
Man's Misery, and traverse Great Relief, when we entered
River Hall, from which Chamber, Spark's Avenue extends
to the Mammoth Dome which is three quarters of a mile

After entering this Avenue, we had but a short walk,
before reaching Bandit's Hall. It is sixty feet in length, and
forty feet in width, the floor of which is covered with large
rocks that have tumbled from above.

To the right of Bandit's Hall, there is a side cavern of


great extent called Brigg's Avenue, but which has never been
fully explored and is never visited.

Passing on we came to Newman's Spine, which is about
ten feet in length and consists of a crevice in the ceiling
which is the exact image of a gigantic back-bone. The trav-
eling in this portion of the Cave is very difficult. We were
obliged to crawl on our hands and knees in some places, and
at others, to lift ourselves bodily over an impassable boulder,
or press through a crevice only half large enough to admit of
the passage of a man's body.

Having accomplished, with much difficulty, the entrance
into Sylvan Avenue, we sat down to rest our weary limbs.
Our good humored guide here entertained us with character-
istic yarns and amusing incidents until we forgot our fatigue
in the enjoyment of his well-told narratives.

Suddenly recollecting, however, that we had yet some
distance to go before reaching the Mammoth Dome, we has-
tened forward.

Sylvan Avenue extends from Spark's Avenue to Claris-
sa's Dome and is about three hundred yards in length, con-
taining a number of ferruginous, limestone logs, which vary
from five to fifteen inches in diameter. Some of them
appear to be chopped in half, while others have lost a portion
of their bark, displaying a white surface of petrous wood ;
and others again look as though they were in a state of ap-
parent decay. Anywhere else, these masses of stone would
be mistaken for petrified wood.

Clarissa's Dome is entered at its base and possesses no
very special points of interest, except its general beauty. It
resembles Gorin's Dome, but is much smaller.


After passing Bennett's Point and Bishop's Gorge, a low
and dangerous passage, we found ourselves standing upon a
terrace which was in the wall, but at least forty feet from the
base of Mammoth Dome. This dome constitutes one of the
principal attractions of the Cave. It is two hundred and
fifty feet in hight, and in appearance, closely resembles
Gorin's Dome ; however, it is more than five times as
large. At the left, at a distance of about fifty yards,
there are five large pillars, cut out of the solid rock
b^ water, and which are called the Corinthian Columns.
Each column is about the size of an ordinary house, but in
contrast with the Dome, they appear of rather meager dimen-
sions. The awful sublimity of the Dome when strongly illu-
minated by the Bengal light, exceeds any thing ever pictured
to a mind .not frenzied by insanity. It was fearful ! Imagine,
under ground, a wild, rugged chasm, gaping far upward until
hid from view by the white, feathery mist arising from the
gushing stream, flowing along its rocky bed at its base.
Think of a dome in a cave, half again as high as Grace Church
spire ! This wae by far the sublimest sight we had yet
witnessed. After gazing about us in mute wonder and awe,
for some moments, we followed the directions of our guide,
and descended by a. slippery and dilapidated ladder, to the
next terrace below, which we crossed with difficulty and as-
cended the steep, slimy rocks that formed the right wall of
the abyss, until we had attained an altitude not much less than
that of the top of the Dome. Passing onward, winding about
among the wet rocks and more treacherous mud, we at last
gained a position directly at the base of the Corinthian
Columns, where we commanded a fine view of the whole Dome
that lay immediately before us. Lee produced his magnesium
wire and illumined the farthest niches and recesses of this awful


cavern. Never have I seen such grandeur above or beneath
the ground. It merits to be ranked among the wonders of
the world to be placed by the side of Niagara Falls, the
Yosemite Valley and Grey's Peak in point of awe-inspiring
grandeur and wild beauty.

The Mammoth Dome is still enlarging under the influence
of water, nature's great chisel, which, as it courses down the
smooth walls, is forever cutting, cutting, cutting, and simply
by its solvent action upon the rocks, in virtue of the carbonic
acid which it holds in solution.

Retracing our steps, we ascended the rickety ladder and
re-entered Spark's Avenue, which led us back to River Hall.

The Avenue which comunicates with Roaring River, is
entered from Cascade Hall in Silliman's Avenue, and is a
half a mile in length. Roaring River resembles Echo River
in size and appearance, but has a much louder echo. There
is a cascade which falls into it, which produces the roaring
sounds and from which, it has received its name. Eyeless
fish and crawfish are found in Roaring River, also a few
sunfish and black crawfish, but the difficulty of reaching it, is
so great, that visitors seldom attempt the trip.

Marion's Avenue is about one and a half miles long and
arises in Washington's Hall. It varies from twenty to sixty
feet in width and from eight to forty in hight. The floor is
covered, the whole distance with sand ; and the walls are
composed of white limestone which resembles cumulus clouds.
At the farther end, the Avenue divides into two branches ;
that to the right leading to Paradise and Portia's Parterre,
and that to the left, to Zoe's Grotto.

The walls and ceiling of Paradise Avenue, are covered


with gypsum flowers, and there is a dome about half way be-
tween its extremities, called Digby's Dome.

Portia's Parterre is entered from the left wall of Paradise
Avenue. It is a half a mile in length, and contains the same
kind of flowers that are found in Cleveland's Cabinet. As it
was only discovered about two years ago, it is generally
termed the New Discovery.

We now started back upon our last and best underground
excursion. We were obliged to walk for almost an hour, to
reach the Main Cave again, which having done by a low and
narrow archway that opened into the right wall on the same
plane with the floor, we followed it for some distance, until
we came to a flight of wooden steps, leading up to the mouth
of a side avenue situated some distance from the floor at this
point. Ascending these, we entered the Gothic Arcade,
which is the most interesting avenue in the whole of Mam-
moth Cave.


A Curious Mummy. The First Echo. Register Room,
" Where there's a Will, there's a Way" A Love Story
founded on Fact. Vulcan's Smithy and Napoleon's Breast-
works. The Lover s Leap. Lake Purity. Adieu to the
Mammoth Cave. Once More in Louisville. The Queen City
of the West. A Cincinnati Park. An Odd Tight Rope
Performance. The Ride over the Baltimore and Ohio.
A lone. The Last A dventure. Home at Last.

The first point of note was the "Seat of the Mummy",
which consists of a niche in the left wall, about forty yards
from the steps, and just large enough for a human being to
sit in.

The body found in this niche was that 6f an Indian
woman, dressed in the skins of wild animals, and ornamented
with the trinkets usually worn by the aborigines. A few feet
distant, the body of an Indian child, attired in precisely the
same manner, was discovered, in a sitting posture, and rest-
ing against the wall. They were both in a state of perfect
preservation, and there can be no doubt that they wandered
into this avenue, and becoming bewildered, as any one,
inexperienced in the direction of the different passages would


have done, sat down and died in the position in which they
were found.

A short distance beyond the seat of the mummy, we
passed a large stalactite which extends from the floor to the
ceiling, and is called the Post Oak, from its resemblance to
a variety of the oak tree that grows near the Cave.

The First Echo which we next approached, is the name
given to that part of the Gothic Arcade which passes over
Pensacola Avenue, the floor of which when forcibly struck, as
with our walking staffs, emits a hollow sound. It does not
appear to be more than a few inches in thickness and it is
remarkable for possessing sufficient rigidity to sustain its own
enormous weight.

Walking on for a quarter of a mile, we entered the Regis-
ter Room, which is about three hundred feet in length, forty
in width, and from eight to sixteen feet in hight. The ceil-
ing is white and as smooth as though it had been plastered.
In this room, hundreds of persons have displayed their utter
bankruptcy in every thing pertaining to good breeding and
taste by tracing their obscure names upon the ceiling with
black candle smoke. It presents a most singular appearance
when first entered. You see curious caricatures and hundreds
of names in all imaginable positions and styles of lettering,
and often, here and there, a neat and well executed monogram,
bearing evidence of the possession of superior skill, if not
talent, by its designer.

After leaving the Register Room, we soon entered the
Gothic Chapel. This is the most interesting room in the Cave
from the fact that it is so closely connected with a most
romantic life-scene in the history of two young persons.

About two years ago there lived a family, which until the


time of which I write, had remained an unbroken circle with
nothing to disturb the blissful serenity of their home life ; but,
as misfortunes never come singly, the old adage was, in this in-
stance, verified by the sudden illness and death of the head
of the family, followed very soon after, by the decease of his
cherished wife.

For some time previous to the occurrence of these sad
events, there had been two suitors for the hand of Elinor, the
eldest daughter. They had vied with each other in their un-
ceasing attentions, while each had flattered himself that he
was receiving the greater share of favor from his fair mistress ;
but, as we shall see, she smiled upon one with her face and upon
the other with her heart. One of these young men, named
George, was the son of very wealthy parents, who, upon his
attaining his majority, had given him his portion of their estate,
and it was no meagre one, as he was the only child. He
possessed every luxury that the imagination could devise or
the lips command, consequently, was vain of his wealth and
constant in his attendance at the gaming table. Notwith-
standing these faults, he was extremely handsome and pos-
sessed of a good deal of genuis, quite a beau among the ladies
and a devotee to their society. He escorted them to all
places of amusement, had them to drive with him in his hand-
some carriage, and behind his latest ' pair,' and passed five
nights out of every week at parties &c. He was what might
have been termed " a good-looking city fop."

Frank, Elinor's other admirer, was a steady, industrious
young man, who, with his father's assistance had just opened
a small business on his own account. He was prospering
by his continued and untiring labor. He was the possessor
of a noble countenance, a generous heart and a graceful, win-
ning address. He was vastly superior to his wealthy, but in-


digent rival, in point of physical development, being finely
formed and bearing himself with a dignified and manly carn-
age. Elinor, although, in her heart, she appreciated his many
virtues and inobstrusive attachment which had already won
her love, had not dared to discard his rival for fear of wound-
ing her kind and indulgent parents whose wish it was, to
secure for her wealth and position by an alliance with him.

It had been six weeks since her father died and now her
mother lay upon her death-bed. Before expiring, she extort-
ed a promise from her daughter never to marry Frank " any
where upon the surface of the green earth." After the funeral
had taken place, she retired to a country town in Ohio, with
a hope of recovering from the shock occasioned by her sudden

Not many weeks passed, before George came ; and, see-
ing in what a desolate and lonely position she was placed,
offered her a home, and wealth beyond her most extravagant
conceptions. Like a true-spirited girl, she refused his kind-
ness prompted by pity for her misfortunes, and remained in
entire seclusion.

In another month, however, Frank, whose delicate and
sympathetic letters she had enjoyed so much since her
mother's death, came to the village in which she was living,
and told her the old, old story, of his undying affection, and
the long-hoped-for happiness of calling her his own. With-
out hesitating, she confessed * frankly', her long attachment,
and the inexpressible joy of this unexpected moment.

Elinor, in the secrets of her own heart, had formed a
plan to avoid, and yet comply with, her promise to her
mother ; and it was nothing more than to be married under-
ground ! So, now that every obstacle was removed, which


could deter her from executing this plan, she collected all her
valuables, and started in company with Frank, for the Mam-
moth Cave. Upon their arrival, they proceeded at once to
the house of the resident minister, and engaged his services
for the morrow. The guides learning of the event that was
to take place, and hearing it rumored about the hotel that the
ceremony was to be performed in the Gothic Chapel, illumi-
nated the room by hanging lamps, and impromptu chan-
deliers, all around the walls, and from the ceiling of the
Chapel. The bride elect was unconscious of all these pre-
parations, so that when the little procession, with the

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13

Online LibraryHarry T. (Harry Taylor) GauseDetailed description of scenes and incidents connected with a trip through the mountains and parks of Colorado, as accomplished by H.B.B. Stapler and Harry T. Gause, July 21-August 20, 1971 → online text (page 13 of 14)