Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls is a series of underground cascading waterfalls totaling 145 feet (44 m) in Lookout Mountain, near Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the United States.

 Lookout Mountain Castle

Ruby Falls Cave has no natural openings. It was discovered in 1928, and so lacks various artifacts often associated with caves in the southeastern United States.

In 1905, the natural entrance to Lookout Mountain Cave was closed during the construction of a railway tunnel.[1] In the 1920s, a chemist and cave enthusiast named Leo Lambert thought that he could re-open the cave as a tourist attraction, and formed a company to do so. He planned to make an opening farther up the mountain than the original opening and transport tourists to the cave via an elevator. For this purpose, his company purchased land on the side of Lookout Mountain above Lookout Mountain Cave and in 1928 began to drill through the limestone. In doing so, they discovered a small passageway about 18 inches high and four feet wide. Exploring this opening, Lambert discovered the formerly hidden Ruby Falls Cave and its waterfall.[2] On his next trip to visit the cave, Lambert took his wife Ruby, and told her that he would name the falls after her.[1][3]

After the discovery of the cave housing Ruby Falls, the tunnelers kept digging to locate the original cave they were searching for, the Lookout Mountain caverns, which they reached 1,120 feet underground. On December 30, 1929 the Lookout Mountain caverns were open to the public, and by the following year in June the Ruby Falls cave was expanded and opened as well.[4] By 1935 the lower of the two caves was blocked off due to Ruby Falls being the far more popular of the two caves.[4][5]

In 1954, the pathway around the basin was cut in order to allow tourists a better view of the falls.[6] This began the tour-related quip regarding not drinking the falls' water. Though pure and thus safe to drink, it has large concentrations of magnesium from the strata of the mountain, which makes it a natural laxative.

In 1975, the secondary exit from the falls to the base of the mountain was cut. This was to comply with recreation regulations in Tennessee. The secondary exit is used in the event that the main shaft elevator fails. This secondary exit was used for the popular Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern until 2017 when the event was renamed Dread Hollow and was moved to a new location. The haunted attraction is open to the public from late September, through October.[7][8]

In April 2007, the National Speleological Society (NSS) published "Caves of Chattanooga"[9] by Larry E. Matthews. Chapter 3, "Ruby Falls Cave", covers the history of Ruby Falls Cave from its discovery in 1928 through 2007 (includes 23 illustrations). Chapter 1, "Lookout Mountain Cave", covers the cave Leo Lambert was drilling for when he accidentally discovered Ruby Falls Cave.

^ a b Cite error: The named reference Manning was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Cite error: The named reference was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Ruby Falls History. Jane Derthick and Hu Longmire. Press Release. Archived 2006-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 11 June 2006 ^ a b Sakowski, Carolyn (2007). Touring the East Tennessee Backroads, Second Edition. John F. Blair, Publisher. p. 349. ISBN 9780895874764. Retrieved 6 December 2017. ^ Simmonds, William (2004). Advertising Barns: Vanishing American Landmarks. MBI. p. 65. ISBN 9780760320839. Retrieved 6 December 2017. Ruby Falls. ^ Cite error: The named reference Ruby Falls Trivia was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ "New haunted town opens in Lookout Valley". October 5, 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017. ^ Jolly, Meagan (August 16, 2017). "Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern Moves For All-New Dread Hollow Experience". The Chattanoogan. Retrieved 6 December 2017. ^ Matthews, Larry E. (2007). Caves of Chattanooga. National Speleological Society. ISBN 978-1879961272.
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