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Hagerstown Roundhouse and Seneca Caverns

by Chris Guenzler

I left the B&O Museum in Baltimore and made my way to Interstate 70 and drove into the incoming storm. I stopped at a Rest Area to get a Maryland State Map before I drove through the rain to Hagerstown. Once I found the railroad, I asked at a gas station where the Roundhouse Museum was and was told to head west five lights, make a left, go under the tracks and I would see it. I pulled into the parking lot, grabbed my umbrella and got the cameras to start taking pictures.

The Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum 5/16/07

I parked at the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum building. They were closed on this rainy Wednesday afternoon but I could still look at the outdoor exhibits.

Western Maryland VO 1000 132.


Hagerstown and Frederick Trolley 168. After these pictures, I made my way back to Interstate 70 to drive to Cumberland. I went through one heck of a downpour in which I had to slow to 40 MPH, use my emergency flashers as the windshield wipers could not take the water off fast enough. Plus there was about four inches of water on the highway. Thank God for some good rock n' roll that took me the rest of the way to Cumberland where I gassed up. I took US 220 south through Keyser to US 50 west to Red House. There I turned south on US 218 down through Elkins passing through some clouds on the way there. I arrived to sunny skies in Elkins and decided to see what was on Railroad Avenue in town.

The Elkins Train Station and future site of the West Virginia Railroad Museum. From here I drove to the Elkins Motor Inn to get my room for the next two nights.

I got my room at the Elkins Motor Inn. I drove to Hardees for the best hamburger ever at a fast food restaurant. Back at the Inn, the rain started up again as I made a few phone calls, watched the History Channel and worked on today's story. Once I was done, I called it a night.

5/17/2007 After a pair of donuts for a snack, I left the Elkins Motor Inn and drove east on US 33 to just short of Riverton where I turned up the road leading to Seneca Cave. I got there early so I read the USA Today while waiting for the office to open.

Seneca Caverns 5/17/2007

Seneca Cave is the largest cavern in West Virginia. "According to a geologist, Vincent Scovazzo, that came to do a survey in October, 2006, the Seneca Caverns is located in the Lowville Limestone, an obsolete name that is equivalent to the lower portions of the Einburg Formation and is also known as the Lincolnshire Formation Limestone. Our guides are supposed to identify the cave as being in the Lincolnshire Formation, and the Seneca Caverns is approximately 460,000,000 years old deposited in Ordovician Time." Elizabeth Harper Manager - Seneca Caverns.

I walked into the office and bought a ticket along with another couple. Since a large school group had just pulled up in two school busses they decided to take the three of us on a tour before they got to the office. We put on our Miner Helmets and walked out the back door of the office. Our guide would lead us through Seneca Cave.

We walked down these stairs and through that door into Seneca Cave.

The first room was just like a normal cave.

The side profile of Princess Snowbird...she is the only daughter of Chief Bald Eagle and White Rock of the Seneca Indian Tribe.

The Dutch Bake Oven was much larger, but pieces were removed to make the passageway that we use today.

The Grand Ballroom, second largest room in the Caverns. It is 30 feet wide, 60 feet long and 70 feet high. Legend says that Princess Snowbird was married here in this room and today weddings are still conducted here.

Still in the Grand Ballroom with stalagmites coming up from the floor and stalactites coming down from the ceiling.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was once a column that was connected to the ceiling but an earthquake a little over 2000 years ago made part of it fall on the cavern floor.

More flow stone in the Grand Ballroom and in the right hand corner is Jaws from the movie Jaws.

"The Balcony" was next on our unique cave tour.

Bricks to block off a dangerous drop in the cave.

Next the top of the Balancing Rock with an impressive cave roof.

Stalactites were hanging below "The Balcony".

The Bridal Chamber and you could see Princess Snowbird in her wedding dress and her black horse behind it. Behind her is her husband Rockoak with his white horse. Below him is the cave's natural totem pole turned upside down.

Next came the Niagara Falls frozen over.

Rock Candy Mountain and you can see different colors of minerals. Brown is iron oxide, Blue is magnesium and white is calcium.

Just more flow stone that is located beside Candy Mountain.

We walked by the bottom of the Balancing Rock.

More flow stone beside of Candy Mountain.

More flow stone.

You could also see a formation that looks like a large turtle.

Next we came to the Hell's Oven.

Unnamed formations.

My tour guide in the red helmet and my new friends in the largest room of the cavern called the Council Room.

Me in Seneca Cave.

Looking back into the Council Room.

We saw Niagara Falls frozen over along with the flow stone again.

The ledge that Lavin Teter had to climb over.

Fairyland which is the most active part of Seneca Caverns. The stalactites you see are called soda straw stalactites and are made when water drips over them so fast that the centers do not have time to harden.

Fairyland at Christmas.

Fairyland at dawn.

There is more flow stone and ribbon flow stone formations.

The cowboy's antique shop and the profile of George Washington from his cowboy days.

The cowboy's antique shop and all of the formations are naturally formed but were placed here because they fit so well with the theme. You can see a cowboy hat with the rim shot off, an extra long cowboy boot, an unmarked tombstone and the cowboy buried upside down without his boots on.

There are various cactus.

The United States.

The Great Wall of China.

The rim stone which people like to call "The Winding Roads of West Virginia".

Stalactites were hanging from the ceiling.

The Prison.

Mirror Lake.

Lake Wigwong with two teepees.

New York City upside down.

The Princess Snowbird sitting on a log enjoying her view.


There is a column called Castle on the Rhine.

A column called Jack the Beanstalk. You can see his mother praying for his safe return and his mean little sister praying he will never return. It is estimated to be 7 to 10 million years old.

More unnamed Stalagmites.

The Great Ice Berg is a flow stone with a column located estimated to be 50 million years old.

Then we came to the Cave Monster.

Just looking back at the Cave Monster and Great Ice Berg.

Sammy the Salmon swimming up stream.

We came to Sammy the Salmon swimming upstream and the Sandy Hills of South Dakota. With that last picture we returned up some stairs and back to daylight on the surface. I thanked my guide for the excellent tour. I visited the Gift Shop for some post cards before I left Seneca Cave after an excellent adventure inside this unique cave. A special thank you to Autumn Nelson for all the help with identifying the cave formations. Thank you Autumn!

I drove back to US 33 stopping at the Riverton Post Office for some stamps. I pulled off the highway at Seneca Rock for a picture.

Seneca Rock. After this picture I drove back to Elkins. I gassed up my Chevy Avec LS, visited the Elkins Post Office then stopped at Wing Thing for some Teriyaki Wings for lunch. I watched television all afternoon including a documentary called Thrills dealing with passenger car safety. At 5 PM, I went to the Dining Room at the 1863 Tavern at the Elkins Motor Inn for dinner. I ordered the Special, an eight ounce steak. I watched television before calling it a night.

5/18/2007 I was up at 6:15 AM and after checking out on another rainy morning, I drove to McDonald's for Hot Cakes and Sausage. I then drove to the boarding area for the first trip of the Cass 40 Railfan Weekend.