Mammoth Cave In Edmonson County
by Martha Grassham Purcell
In Edmonson County, near Green River, was discovered
in 1809, by a Mr. Hutchins, while in pursuit
of a wounded bear, that matchless subterranean
palace,—the Mammoth Cave.
It consists, not of one chamber, but of many magnificent
rooms, winding avenues, towering domes, bottomless
pits, picturesque cataracts, mystic rivers,
gloomy seas, and crystal lakes, on five different levels.
Geologists agree that this immense cavern was carved
out of the limestone ages ago, by both the mechanical
and chemical action of the water. Viewing
the huge columns that have been formed by depositing
the almost infinitesimal amount of lime dissolved from
the rock, one stands in awe at the thought of the great
span of time required for this marvelous work.
A view in the Mammoth Cave.
Here no ray of sunshine lights up the darkness;
here no sound breaks the silence; here no seasons
come and go; here no living creature—save the
torpid bat, the sluggish lizard, the silent cricket, the
shy rabbit-like rat, and eyeless fish—exists.
Among the many picturesque spots in this cave
are the Bridal Altar, formed of several pillars grouped
into arches; the Old Arm Chair, in which Jenny Lind
once sat and sang; the Giant's Coffin, a massive stone,
forty feet long, twenty feet wide, and nine feet thick,
that fell, ages ago, from above; Audubon Avenue; the
Bat Chamber, where thousands of bats spend the
winter clinging to the ceiling, in most places smooth
and white as if made by a master hand; the Devil's
Arm Chair, a large stalagmite in which is a comfortable
seat; Napoleon's Breast Works; Lover's Leap, and
Gatewood's Dining Table; Fat Man's Misery, River
Hall, and Bacon Chamber, the last looking like a part
of a pork-packing house; the Dead Sea, the Corkscrew,
the Holy Sepulcher, Martha Washington's
Statue, Shelby's Dome; the rivers Lethe, Echo, and
Styx; and last the Star Chamber, sixty feet wide,
seventy feet high, and four hundred feet long. Here
the guide leaves you in absolute darkness for a
while, until from his vantage ground he so illuminates
the high ceiling that when you look upward, the
heavens seem studded with stars; a comet with its
blazing tail appears, clouds cross over, midnight
with its utter darkness comes, and finally day
begins to dawn.