Horse Cave Stories
Stop #17  Electricity in the Cave
Horse Cave Cellphone Walking Tour

Listen to the Cellphone Audio
Ann Matera for Stop #17, spoken by Ann Matera, City Clerk, City of Horse Cave

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Stop #17

Stop #17 Electricity in the Cave - Narrator: Ann Matera

Settlers were first attracted to Horse Cave because of the easy access to fresh water pouring through Hidden River Cave. When Dr. G.A. Thomas owned the cave, he made good use not only of the water but also of water power. In the early 1900's, Thomas built a water pumping system in the mouth of the cave that pumped water into a water tower beside his home, where he sold it. A remnant of the water tower is the large green tank you can see right here near the edge of the sink hole. He also built a hydro electric generator powered by the rushing waters of Hidden River to furnish electricity for the town and the cave tour. Light poles were strung all the way back to Sunset dome, a distance of about 2000 feet. Just inside the cave entrance, visitors can see the remnants of both systems. Thanks to the Doctors Thomas, Horse Cave was the second city in Kentucky to have electricity but the first city in Kentucky to use the incandescent light bulb.

Next Stop

Oral Histories about the
"Electricity in the Cave"

Gene Bowen

Gene Bowen

"Dr. Thomas Did Two Things"

Peggy Nims, Guide, American Cave Museum

"Electricity in 1892"

Street Sign

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