Posts Tagged ‘cave exploring

23
Oct
09

Yes, they too were Kentuckians: Floyd Collins, cave explorer

By James C. Claypool

The death of Floyd Collins (1887-1925) is said to have constituted one of America’s most sensational media events of the 1920s.

Floyd Collins lived in western Kentucky’s cave region his entire life. He began exploring the extensive cave system in this region as a young man, and in 1925, the year of his tragic death, Collins was considered the foremost authority on the caves and cave systems of western Kentucky. In fact, some have gone so far as to label Collins “the greatest cave explorer ever known.” In 1917, Collins discovered Crystal Cave, which was located at the edge of the vast Mammoth Cave system, a discovery the Collins family tried to turn into a commercial enterprise. However, attendance at Crystal Cave was disappointingly low. In the hope that he might be able to uncover a new entrance to the area’s cave systems and thereby generate a new spark of interest in Crystal Cave, Floyd entered a nearby sandstone cave on Jan. 30, 1925. While crawling through a narrow crawlway that ran 55 feet below the surface, Collins became trapped and would remain so for 13 highly melodramatic days until he died from starvation and exposure.
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