This book was published in June 2008 by the National Speleological Society, the largest organized group of cave explorers and cave scientists in the United States. It describes the history of fourteen (14) caves that are either currently commercial caves (open to the public) or that were commercial caves at some time in the past. The area covered extends from the Knoxville area all the way up to Bristol and Cumberland Gap. When you combine this book with "Caves of Chattanooga" (2007), you get a complete coverage of the commercial caves of East Tennessee.
Several of these caves were utilized by prehistoric peoples. Other were used by the early pioneers, including Daniel Boone. Mining for saltpeter (the main ingredient of gunpowder) occurred in some of these caves during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Alum Cave in Great Smoky Mountain National Park really was mined for alum during the Civil War. Indian Cave was mined after the Civil War by Confederate General Robert Hoke for bat guano, which was shipped to Atlanta, Georgia for use as fertilizer. Each cave has it's own unique stories.
There are numerous photographs and maps and copies of old brochures for these caves. Each chapter is an interesting and informative history of the cave that it covers.
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