has had several names throughout history, Three Forks, Bell’s Station and Glasgow Junction.
The community developed around the L&N Railroad, the L&N Turnpike, Mammoth Cave stagecoach road and the Mammoth
Cave Railway. For many years the town served as a local transportation hub.
historic core of our town is the Bell’s
Tavern site. This historic tavern offered early travelers to the region
lodging, dining and a variety of goods and services. From Bell’s
Tavern, travelers would embark to Mammoth
Cave and Mammoth Cave National Park from Park City.
Bell, his son Robert Slaughter Bell, and daughter-in-law Maria Gorin Bell operated the successful Bell’s Tavern. After Robert’s
death, Maria married prominent local farmer George Procter. In addition to
Tavern, George became the proprietor of Diamond Caverns in 1859. At the
same time, his brother, Larkin Procter, managed the Mammoth Cave Hotel, and
also owned the stage line that ran to Bell’s
Tavern, Diamond Caverns, and Mammoth
was a close relationship between Mammoth
Cave and Diamond
Caverns for years. Books and cave brochures would describe both caves.
Beginning in 1880, the Mammoth Cave Railroad tracks were laid just south of
Diamond Caverns. When the line finally opened in 1886, Diamond was one of
the chief stops on the railroad. The Procters
also commercialized two other caves, Procter
Cave and Grand
accessible from railroad stops between Diamond Caverns and Mammoth Cave.
The railroad brought many visitors, but in 1904, the first automobile
managed to travel the bad roads and arrive at Mammoth Cave.
After the First World War, tourism rapidly increased, with many visiting
cave region. In 1921, an oil driller named George Morrison forced another
entrance into Mammoth
Cave. Competition between
historic Mammoth Cave and Morrison’s "New Entrance to Mammoth Cave" led to vigorous
competition among cave owners called the "cave wars." During the
1920ís, as many as 17 caves were open for tours including Diamond Caverns.
Cave vandalism from competitors resulted in destruction of formations in
many caves, including some damage in Diamond Caverns.
The death of Floyd Collins in Sand
Cave in February, 1925, brought
world wide attention to Mammoth
Cave and the
surrounding caves. An act of Congress in 1926 authorized the establishment
of Mammoth Cave National Park,
with the park activated in 1941 and formally dedicated in 1946.