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Sand Cave Trail - Floyd Collins, KY

Just before entering the Mammoth Cave National Park there is a pull off where there is a sign and boardwalk that will take you to the cave where Floyd Collins died.

Floyd Collins was born on July 20, 1887. At the age of 6 he started exploring caves. Mr. Collins discovered Crystal Cave on Flint Ridge which he felt would bring his family riches by giving tours. Unfortunately it was remote and had very few visitors. He even bought a taxi cab to transport people to Crystal Cave but he was a terrible driver, even broadsiding a barn. In an effort to find another Cave, Mr. Collins entered into an agreement with a neighbor to open up Sand Cave.

On January 30, 1925 while trying to enlarge the entry passageway, Collins became trapped in a narrow passageway. It wasn’t until the next morning that anyone realized that Collins was missing since he was known to stay in the caves for long periods of time and also slept at several different residences. A rescue operation was put into place to retrieve Collins. After four days of Floyd’s brother, Homer, bringing him food and water, a rock collapsed in the entryway stranding him in the cave. Collins died of thirst, hunger and exposure after two weeks on February 13, 1925.

A funeral service was held on the surface of the cave, while his body lay inside. His brother, Homer, was not happy that Floyd’s body did not have a proper burial and had the shafts reopened and his body was recovered 2 months later. Floyd was buried at the Collins family farm.

Lee Collins sold off his stake of Crystal Cave and allowed his son’s body to be exhumed and put on display in a glass-covered coffin inside the cavern. Visitors flocked to Crystal Cave to see the Greatest Cave Explorer Ever Known. In 1929 Floyd’s body was stolen and thrown into Kentucky’s Green River but got tangled in some brush. The body was retrieved and a chain lock was placed on his coffin. In 1961 Collins' body was still inside the government purchased Crystal Cave. In 1989 Floyd Collins' body was re-interred at the Mammoth Cave Baptist Church cemetery.

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