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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago near Metaline Falls: Club explores Gardner Cave

A group called the Spokane Research Club went on an excursion to Gardner’s Cave near Metaline Falls, “the miniature Mammoth Cave,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Aug. 14, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)
A group called the Spokane Research Club went on an excursion to Gardner’s Cave near Metaline Falls, “the miniature Mammoth Cave,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Aug. 14, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)

A group called the Spokane Research Club went on an excursion to Gardner’s Cave near Metaline Falls, “the miniature Mammoth Cave.”

It was, said the Spokane Daily Chronicle, “one of the most scenic and attractive of the natural wonders” in the state. It was discovered years earlier by Ed Gardner.

The group had to descend down short ladder before entering a large chamber, decorated with stalactites.

“Going on through the cave, we finally came to a small passageway only about 14 inches in diameter, leading downward,” said one of the party. “Pulling up our stomachs up against our hearts and our hearts into our mouths, we were able to crawl about 18 feet and then landed in another large chamber, about 16 feet square and 14 feet high. Right through this room, a small stream of water was flowing, which disappeared further down the room.”

They found all manner of interesting formations, including one they dubbed “Gardner’s bear.” The members of the group were unanimous “in voicing the opinion that it should be acquired as a public park.”

Today, Gardner Cave is part of Crawford State Park Heritage Site, and is open to the public.

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