New entrance to Mammoth Cave

by George D. Morrison

George D. Morrison (*1866-✝1937) was the most ambitious and most successful cave developer during the Kentucky Cave Wars. He came to Mammoth Cave in 1915 to pursue oil deposits that had recently been found in the cave region. But as an oil man he was remarkably unsuccessful and nicknamed “Dry Hole George.” After his arrival to Cave Country he abandoned his search for oil and began cave development. After all, even dry holes could make a man rich if they were show caves.

He wanted to find a distant stretch of Mammoth Cave, not owned by the Mammoth Cave Estate, so he could develop it as a show cave. The idea was to start looking inside Mammoth Cave itself, which required illegal entry into Mammoth Cave. The survey team had run-ins with the Estate and even the law. But finally in 1916, they located a passage beyond the property lines of the Mammoth Cave Estate and near the surface, He blasted an entrance and made the remote part of the cave accessible. Unfortunately he forgot to check who owned the cavern rights to the land. It had already been purchased by the L&N Railroad, who were unwilling to allow a new competitor to steal their business away. This entrance is today known as Cox Entrance.

For his next attempt he began assembling investors to help him acquire land and cavern rights around Mammoth Cave. He formed the Mammoth Cave Development Company and began blasting into the bottom of a sink further down the Mammoth Cave Ridge. The place was selected based on survey notes from earlier, but also with luck. They found vertical shafts and finally found a large, dry room with writing on the wall. In spring 1922 he opened his cave up to the public and advertised it as the New Entrance to Mammoth Cave. This is the guidebook which was sold at the cave.