|Following the Wind
by Stormy on December 05, 2007
The most historic cave in Colorado is Cave of the Winds in Manitou Springs. Follow Stormy on his adventure to this subterranean world.
I got an invitation to visit Cave of the Winds for a private party the night of December 5. A fair number of people attended and after a rather filling meal and pleasant conversation I had an opportunity to tour the cave.
There is a lot of debate as to who discovered the cave and exactly when. People who claim they were the first visitors to the cave include William Kimberly, General Sam Brown, Arthur Love, Charlie Cross, Reverend Roselle Cross, Picket brothers and George Snider. It is a fact, though, that George Snider commercialized the cave in 1881 and it has been open for commercial tours ever since. On July 4, 1907 Cave of the Winds became one of the earliest caves in the United States to feature electric lighting. This was such an important an event that in 1915 Thomas Edison himself toured the cave.
In 1885 Manitou Grand Caverns, a cave on the back side of the ridge where Cave of the Winds is, was also opened for commercial tours by George Snider. In the early 1900s the two caves were connected and in 1906 Manitou Grand Caverns entrance was closed. Although this cave was accessible from the Cave of the Winds side and remained on the tour, the name Manitou Grand Caverns was dropped from all advertising.
Over the decades of the 20th century Cave of the Winds saw many discoveries and was tremendously expanded form the original known cave of the 1880s. The most spectacular of discoveries is Silent Splendor. This beautifully decorated section is completely closed to commercial tours. Only research trips are allowed into this section.
Today there are two commercial tours in the cave, the Historic Tour through the old Cave of the Winds section and the Lantern Tour through the Manitou Grands section. It is said that the ghost of George Snider inhabits the cave.