Subterranean Renovations: The Unique Architectural Spaces of Show Caves

Like an elaborate stage for an audienceless performance, spectacular natural caves formed and transformed over the ages in the unseen world of the underground. When modern humans came into this subterranean world, first as explorers, then as tourists, they brought with them elements from their surficial realm, from cement and electricity to postcards and fried chicken. From the first lantern-led tours through Mammoth Cave in the early 1800's to the drive-through caves of today, the two hundred or so caves in the country that have been opened to the public (out of over 30,000 caves discovered in the United States so far) have been transformed by the interests of tourism and the fancy of cave owners and promoters.

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