Stop #5 Cornering the Cave Market - Narrator: Tom Chaney
Look across Highway 31W and you'll see the Bee-Lov-Lee Beauty Salon. This triangular shaped building, constructed of undressed limestone, was built by Dr. Harry B. Thomas in about 1932 when Highway 31W opened. Dr. Thomas operated tours in three show caves, and he wanted tourists to visit his caves instead of Mammoth Cave. He hired solicitors to wear uniforms and flag down cars to tell tourists how much better his caves were than Mammoth Cave. This practice was common during the decades of rivalry known as the "Cave Wars." Sometimes this rivalry took bizarre turns, as in the case of the theft of Floyd Collins' body. Floyd Collins was a cave explorer trapped in Sand Cave. Rescue operations captured the attention of the nation, but the rescue failed and Collins died in the cave. Later Collins' body was exhibited in a glass topped coffin in the Floyd Collins Crystal Cave. The body was stolen, allegedly by a rival cave owner, recovered, and returned to the cave. A few years ago he was buried for about the 5th time in the Mammoth Cave Baptist Church Cemetery.