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Mapping of Loucks’ Cavern east of York

East York Cave map by L. Wolf & B. Smeltzer, dated March 27, 1959 (The Netherworld News by Pittsburgh Grotto of National Speleological Society, October 1959, Page 184 “Caves Near York, Pennsylvania, Part I by Bernard Smeltzer;” copy in collections of York County History Center)

A map of a portion of Loucks’ Cavern was made during late October of 1915. That map probably resembles the pictured map of the East York Cave, made in 1959 by L. Wolf and Bernard Smeltzer; except Loucks’ Cavern is on a much larger scale.

During mapping, the Loucks’ Cavern explorers proceeded through 11 galleries and four chambers or corridors, covering a distance of 800-feet. The verification of the exact location of Loucks’ Cavern is still underway. The East York Cave map covers a distance of 40-feet; that cave is located near the brick plant at the east end of Boundary Avenue; southeast of York. These caves are on private property and require permission from landowners to enter.

By the time the mapping of Loucks’ Cavern had been done, more than 1,000 people had viewed accessible portions of that natural wonder. An employee of Mr. E. W. Loucks kept the tabulation of visitors ever since it was opened for viewing; admission was free.

In the post Exploring Loucks’ Cavern to 580-feet;  at the end of an October 14, 1915, article in the York Daily, cave explorer George Figdore said he intends to make further explorations beyond the 580-feet distance. It was his intension to lead a well-equipped party and to make accurate measurements. Four days later, the York Daily reported on that further exploration. The main gallery was found to have a length of 176-feet with a width of 38-feet at some points.

Further Exploration of Loucks’ Cavern

An article in the October 18, 1915, issue of the York Daily provided details on the further exploration of Loucks’ Cavern east of York. Quoting the complete article; while making a number of spelling corrections:


Extend For 800 Feet—Thousand Visit Work Of Nature

Louck’s cave on E. W. Loucks’ farm, east of York, was visited by more than 300 persons Saturday who inspected the accessible portions of the natural wonder. An employee of Mr. Loucks has kept a record of all visitors since the cave was discovered several weeks ago. This record shows that more than 1,000 people have viewed the cave up to the present time. To give working people an opportunity to visit the cave Mr. Loucks has kept it open to all visitors on Sunday. Hereafter it will be closed on Sundays and open only on week days. Admission to the cave is free.

Further explorations were made by George Figdore, Franklin Minnich and Elmer Seifert. By means of flashlights they lighted their way and were able to proceed through 11 galleries and four chambers or corridors, covering a distance of 800 feet in the course of their explorations. There were revealed to them, new beauties and marvels, beyond their powers to describe. Another stalagmitic formation of huge proportions, resembling in appearance a magnificent edifice, was met with in one of the chambers. Figdore declares that it resembles in general appearance the United States capitol. It has a massive dome of pure white limestone and columns, porticoes and wings of blue and blue and white mottled limestone—a veritable palace of marble, the handiwork of nature.

The explorers have made a map of a portion of the cave. The map shows 11 tortuous galleries and four chambers or corridors. The aggregate length of the galleries is 408 feet, the explorers having made measurements with tape lines as they went along. The main gallery was found to have a length of 176 feet with a width of 38 feet at some points.

The exploring party discovered clinging to the rock and clay in one portion of the cave, small glistening white objects of the greatest delicacy of construction and which are puzzling to all persons who have examined them. The objects vary in size from a hickory nut to a walnut and closely resemble balls of silken threads. When exposed to the outer air, they crumble into minute particles and finally disappear entirely. One of the spirit-like formations was placed in an air-right jar in the cave yesterday afternoon and was brought to the surface. It remained intact in the jar.

It has been suggested to Mr. Loucks that he develop the cave on the land as a place for sightseers and transform the surrounding land, which has much natural beauty, into an amusement park. He may act on this suggestion.

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