Foreword by Robert & Johanna Titus, trade paper, 6 x 9, 344 pages, 87 illustrations. Author Dana Cudmore grew up in the middle of New York State's "Cave Country"--home to an astonishing 150+ caves including world-famous Howe Caverns and Secret Caverns. This book explores the wonder and drama in the history of the caves and describes the remarkable personal and engineering accomplishments that turned some into popular tourist destinations. It is an intriguing, surprising, sometimes humorous and very human look back at nearly 200 years of adventure in New York's most famous caves and the explorers and entrepreneurs whose courage and vision have made the caves a part of the lives of millions of visitors from around the world. Cudmore and friends explored many of the area's caves, including some of the spectacular ones that are not public and less well-known, such as Ball's, Schoharie Caverns, Selleck's, and Knox Cave. Still not rediscovered, however, is Lester Howe's legendary Garden of Eden Cave, which Howe claimed was "bigger and better" than the famous cave he discovered and opened to the public in 1842. The search continues.
Hand-in-hand with the story of the caves is the story of the stone and cement quarry that was also built on the region's unique geology, and the history of the feisty, hardscrabble community that grew up around the original Howes Cave entrance and the quarry.
Previously undocumented details taken from years of accumulated research have formed this compelling history, including such exciting recent developments as the sale of Howe Caverns and its rebirth as an adventure destination (Naked Cave Tour, anyone?), the reopening of the Howes Cave quarry, and the creation of a new, first-of-its-kind, museum dedicated to these underground empires.
"Cudmore has written a book not solely about the caves' history, but about all the history attached to the caves--the multitude of personalities and the cultural and economic tides that have swept across the Leatherstocking Country and its greatest natural wonders. ... Underground Empires is a rise, fall, rise, fall, and rise again story filled with colorful characters, high adventure, a little romance even, and some tantalizing mysteries." -- From the foreword by Robert and Johanna Titus
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dana Cudmore of Cobleskill is a retired communications professional who worked as a newspaper reporter and editor as well as a public relations director in the New York State university system. After running his own agency, Media Services, for a dozen years, he worked as an external affairs officer for a federal disaster response agency before retiring. Among other distinctions, he was a member of the original board of directors of the Cave House Museum of Mining and Geology, created in Howes Cave in 2003. Cudmore put himself through college working summers at Howe Caverns, where he developed an interest in its history and folklore. As a young man he explored many of the region's other, undeveloped caves, as well as caves in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. He writes of his first experiences as a young Howe Caverns tour guide: The 52? "other world" of the cave offered a bit of thrill, and I was fascinated by its mysterious dark passages--some unseen and unavailable to the public. I wanted to explore and to know all I could. Cudmore's fascination with caves and Schoharie County's Cave Country eventually led to his first book, The Remarkable Howe Caverns Story (1990), which was followed by Unearthing Howes Cave: A Community and a Quarry from 1842 On (2005).