This is the second half of an article about the Barry and Johnston caves that appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on July 27, 1890. I will include the last paragraph of what was previously published. If you need to take another look at the first post, here is a link. The Barry and Johnston Cave – Part One.
That is a great story, don’t you think? It is made even better by the fact that this cave is very close to Maplewood even if it is beyond our western border. We need to find out what property was once the farm of Dr. Barry. It was situated on the Manchester Road midway between the Rock Hill and North and South roads about 9 miles from the city. What street today was called the North and South Road in 1890? Rock Hill still exists. No problem there.
The boys entered the Barry cave and hoped to come out of the Johnston cave some 600 yards away. Also the Johnston homestead was once owned by Judge Molton whose home was the first in the county according to this article. Surely someone knows where that home was.
I had a similar experience while exploring a cave when I was a teenager. It was not nearly as harrowing as this tale but scary enough. Myself and two friends got into a cave we shouldn’t have been in. We had only a carbide light and a Coleman lantern. We were crawling in a tunnel that was very low so we left the lantern burning behind us. We crawled and climbed what seemed like quite a way with just the carbide light. We arrived at a fairly large, fascinating room with many thin stalactites that hadn’t been disturbed. While we were admiring this the carbide light went out. Talk about dark.
Carbide lights, long used by miners, contain calcium carbide and water which produces acetylene gas. Our lamp had run out of water. Ray, my quick thinking friend and the lamp’s owner, urinated into the lamp. That worked. We relit the lamp and got back out. I still shudder when I think of this. I no longer have any desire at all to explore caves, commercial or otherwise nor do I recommend anyone else to do so.
It is unusual for me to make two post this close together. I was feeling guilty for leaving everyone hanging in the middle of this story. Hope you enjoyed it.
Doug Houser January 4, 2021
Below are some articles found after this post had been made. I was trying to identify which of our streets had been called North and South road in 1890 using Newspapers.com.