A Monument of Mammoth Proportions

In 1909, the Orange and White reported that E.B. Proctor ’07 had toured Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, where he discovered that while there were monuments (piles of cave rocks with signs) for Vanderbilt, Kentucky State, Sewanee, and many other universities there was none for UT. He prepared a 12-inch sign with raised letters and the UT logo and created a base of cave rocks, upon which others visiting Mammoth Cave could place a rock for UT.

Joy Medley Lyons, chief of Program Services at Mammoth Cave National Park, indicated that there were dozens of such monuments in Mammoth Cave when the Civilian Conservation Corps was brought to the area to create Mammoth Cave National Park in the late 1930s. One of their tasks was trail improvement, and many of the signs and monuments were destroyed as trails were made. Some monuments still exist inside the cave, however, primarily in a passageway called Gothic Avenue. The UT monument, and a goodly pile of rocks placed by visitors, is still there, in a side passage that did not need to be cleaned out for the trail work.

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