Rambles in the Mammoth Cave, during the Year 1844 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 66 pages of information about Rambles in the Mammoth Cave, during the Year 1844.

Mammoth Dome—­First Discoverers—­Little Dome—­Tale of a Lamp—­Return.

From the Bandit’s Hall, diverge two caves; one of which, the left, leads you to a multitude of domes; and the right, to one which, par excellence, is called the Mammoth Dome.  Taking the right, we arrived, after a rugged walk of nearly a mile, to a platform, which commands an indistinct view of this dome of domes.  It was discovered by a German gentleman and the guide Stephen about two years ago, but was not explored until some months after, when it was visited by a party of four or five, accompanied by two guides, and well prepared with ropes, &c.  From the platform, the guides were let down about twenty feet, by means of a rope, and upon reaching the ground below, they found themselves on the side of a hill, which, descending about fifty feet, brought them immediately under the Great Dome, from the summit of which, there is a water-fall.  This dome is near four hundred feet high, and is justly considered one of the most sublime and wonderful spectacles of this most wonderful of caverns.  From the bottom of the dome they ascended the hill to the place to which they had been lowered from the platform, and continuing thence up a very steep hill, more than one hundred feet, they reached its summit.  Arrived at the summit, a scene of awful grandeur and magnificence is presented to the view.  Looking down the declivity, you see far below to the left, the visiters whom you have left behind, standing on the platform or termination of the avenue along which they had come; and lower down still, the bottom of the Great Dome itself.  Above, two hundred and eighty feet, is the ceiling, lost in the obscurity of space and distance.  The height of the ceiling was determined by E.F.  Lee, civil engineer.  This fact in regard to the elevation of the ceiling and the locality of the Great Hall, was subsequently ascertained, by finding on the summit of the hill, (a spot never before trodden by man,) an iron lamp!!  The astonishment of the guides, as well as of the whole party, on beholding the lamp, can be easily imagined; and to this day they would have been ignorant of its history, but for the accidental circumstance of an old man being at the Cave Hotel, who, thirty years ago, was engaged as a miner in the saltpetre establishment of Wilkins & Gratz.  He, on being shown the lamp, said at once, that it had been found under the crevice pit (a fact that surprised all,); that during the time Wilkins & Gratz were engaged in the manufacture of saltpetre, a Mr. Gatewood informed Wilkins, that in all probability, the richest nitre earth was under the crevice pit.  The depth of this pit being then unknown, Wilkins, to ascertain it, got a rope of 45 feet long, and fastening this identical lamp to the end of it, lowered it into the pit, in the doing of which, the string caught on fire, and down fell the lamp.  Wilkins made an offer of two dollars to any one of the miners who would descend the pit

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Rambles in the Mammoth Cave, during the Year 1844 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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