Luray in Page County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Beautiful Caverns of Luray
Welcome to Luray Caverns
The Discovery of the Century
On August 13, 1878, town tinsmith Andrew Campbell, Campbell's 13-year-old nephew Quint, and three other men were exploring for a cave. With the help of a companion, photographer Benton Stebbins, they dug away loose rock for four hours. Candle in hand, Campbell, followed by Quint, slid down a rope into a cave. They found themselves in one of the largest caverns in the East, an eerie world of stalactites and stalagmites sparkling in the candlelight.
Alexander J. Brand, Jr., a New York Herald correspondent, was the first travel writer to visit Luray Caverns. "It's a magnificent cave," he said, "the most beautiful I've ever seen."
The Smithsonian Institution praised the stalactite and stalagmite ornamentation of the caverns, and the Encyclopedia Britannica devoted an unprecedented page and a half of the caverns' wonders. Others considered the caverns to be the "Discovery of the Century."
The Smithsonian Institution report of July 13 and 14, 1880, comments, "…it is safe to say that there is probably no other cave in the world more completely and profusely decorated with stalactite and stalagmite ornamentation than that of Luray."
Luray Caverns Today
In 1974, the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior designated Luray Caverns a U.S. Registered Natural Landmark. Luray Caverns is the largest and most visited caverns in America and one of the most popular caverns worldwide. Guided tours along well-lighted paved walkways lead visitors through cathedral-sized rooms, towering stone formations, and natural wonders at every turn.
Giant's Hall is filled with stone columns, shimmering draperies, and crystal-clear pools. Dream Lake reflects a myriad of fantastic forms. Discover Titania's Veil, a calcite formation in its finest purity. You won't believe your ears when the stalacpipe organ, the world's largest musical instrument, makes stalactites sing throughout three acres of caverns.
While visiting Luray Caverns, be sure to enjoy all our amenities. Your general admission ticket includes the Luray Valley Museum, Car & Carriage Caravan Museum, and Toy town Junction. Not included in the ticket, but on site ae the Rope Adventure Park and the Garden Maze. Be sure to see Shenandoah National Park, the town of Luray, and our many historic sites. Luray Caverns is an outstanding example of our nation's natural heritage awed by millions of people all around the world. Thank you for visiting!
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Natural Features • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the National Natural Landmarks series list.
Location. 38° 39.854′ N, 78° 29.029′ W. Marker is in Luray, Virginia, in Page County. Marker can be reached from Cave Hill Road 0.2 miles west of Lee Highway (U.S. 211/340), on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Luray VA 22835, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Luray Caverns (a few steps from this marker); Car & Carriage Caravan Museum (within shouting distance of this marker); Luray (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Shenandoah At War (about 300 feet away); The Luray Valley Museum (about 600 feet away); The World's First Bluegrass Festival (about 600 feet away); Heartpine Cafe (about 700 feet away); Willow Grove Mill In Olden Days (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Luray.
1. Error on the marker
The National Park Service is a component of of the U.S. Department of the Interior. They are not separate entities.
— Submitted November 1, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 1, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 1, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 48 times since then and 4 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on November 1, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.