ruly of 1858 brought a wagon train into the Garden of the Gods. The forty-eight men and a few women were from Lawrence Kansas. They, too, were on the way west to strike it rich by finding gold on Pikes Peak.
They camped along what they called Camp Creek (it’s the little creek you drove over on your way into the park). They panned for gold and wiled away the hours carving jewelry and pipes from the gypsum on on White Rock, and exploring the rocks and caves in the garden.
Remember Signature Rock? Some of those “signatures” are from this Lawrence Kansas group. (Andrew Wright)
The group rediscovered Spaulding’s cavern one of the men, Augustus Voorhees carved his name and the year - 1858 - in the cavern wall.
By the 1900’s that cavern was forgotten, overgrown by greenery. In 1935, an elderly man (possibly A.C. Wright), who remembered playing there as a child rediscovered it on the west side of North Gateway Formation. The carvings of Voorhees and other pioneers were still there, clearly readable.
There was an attempt to open the cavern to the public in the 30’s. The Civilian Conservation Corps, along with other work in the Garden, excavated the cave and built steps down into the cavern. But safety issues caused the city to permanently seal the entrance with iron bars concrete.
(Wish I could have gone inside - bet you do too.)
Here's an article from the Gazette Telegraph about trying to reopen the cavern.
The Lawrence Party moved on after a month’s stay. Many in the party settled near Cherry Creek - establishing the town of St. Charles (later to be Denver.)
Back to History
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