Who really discovered Carlsbad Caverns?

NewsNM:Swickard - last week we were talking about the discovery of Carlsbad Caverns. August 4, 2013 the Carlsbad Current Argus came out with that story. - By Valerie Cranston
     Carlsbad Caverns, once known as Bat Cave, has been referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Many claimed to be its discoverer, but no one knows for sure who really discovered this magnificent underground world. One fact no one will dispute is that the Indians who roamed this area many years ago knew of this huge hole in the ground long before any white man.
     In May of 1968, then Carlsbad Caverns park naturalist Neal R. Bullington compiled and edited a document of recorded claims and counterclaims of discovery of the Bat Cave. One specific account in the document titled "Who Discovered Carlsbad Caverns?" tells of unfolding events at a barbecue in the early 1920s at Washington Ranch.
      "For years many have credited Jim White with being the discoverer. To the best of our knowledge, Jim White made no active claim to discovery, although neither did he go out of his way to stop others from claiming it for him," Bullington wrote noting, in no way should any claims tarnish White's reputation as explorer and promoter. 
     Dr. Willis T. Lee, head of the National Geographic Expedition in the cave March 20 to Sept. 15, 1924, wanted to promote the cavern following his underground visit. He invited a crowd of newspaper people and dignitaries to join him in a free tour of the cave followed by an invitation to the barbecue."We are indebted to Carl Livingston (Lee's expedition assistant) for recording what followed," wrote Bullington.
     Livingston, cowboy, attorney, amateur archaeologist, geologist, public official and writer recalled and wrote about the barbecue events for the March 1934 issue of New Mexico Magazine. The title of his story was "The Eighth Wonder; A Saga of 'Baloney' told Link by Link in which Discoverers of the Great Carlsbad Cavern are Thick as Flies." Read full story



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