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MIKE WATSON discovers A Natural Spectacular Scene...

For many, we hope not all, the mention of 'Grand Daddy's Cliff' will be the first time they have ever heard of the Adair County, Green River Country, geological gem. Mike Watson shares a newspaper account of the 1870's and 1880's. And with that comes the wonder if anyone else knows about Grand Daddy's Cliff, and whether or not it can be found today. Any additional information, photos or details from family oral history about Grand Daddy's Cliff would be greatly appreciated.
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By Adair County Historian Mike Watson

Ed,

The many great photographs of indigenous spring wild flowers appearing on ColumbiaMagazine of late, largely the work of your dear wife, yourself and others, caused me to remember the following news item from the 1880s. Flowery in its composition, and with great praise of the locale, the Green River country of Adair is worthy of spring celebration...

The following article, in the flourishing literary style of the high-Victorian age, was picked up by various newspapers across the nation in the late 1870s and early 1880s. The author of the piece is never given, but it was most likely a local person, and was almost certainly first printed in the Columbia Spectator:


"A Natural Spectacular Scene--In Adair County, Kentucky, about ten miles north-east of Columbia, there is a grand and lofty projection on the banks of Green River, known by the classic name of 'Grand Daddy's Cliff,' which as a picturesque phenomenon, is rarely ever surpassed. The apex rock, of the series of shelving limestone that climbs one above another to an enormous height, extends out over the azure and placid waters of this beautiful stream about seventy-five feet. On the top of this shelf rock canopy, divers little wild flowers, in the proper season, spring up, and commingling with a mazy fringe of shrubbery, blossom upon the very verge of the precipice, where nature's curly hair, the tenacious climbing vine, falls in gorgeous and graceful folds to the water's crystal bosom, thus forming a closing curtain to a cave-like chamber of spacious dimensions and exquisite beauty.

"The somber wall, all studded with a number of fanciful formations that slightly protrude from the rough sides, the cerulean tint of the rock ceiling, gemmed with star-like crystals, and the waving, viny curtain that floats eternally on the sighs of the passing breezes, with the velvety floor of snow-white sand--all conspire to form and force upon the dusty memory the pictures of the little fairy palaces, with their million spirit inhabitants peeping from the almost invisible chinks in the walls that fond old grandmothers usually paint to satiate the unbounded credulity of the innocent little prattlers who hove, with undivided attention to the story, around the blazing hearth on long winter nights, in 'life's morning march, when their little spirits are young.'

"This grotto is not only a beautiful and sublime wonder of nature, but is also useful. In the white, dusty sand that forms the floor many of the neighboring farmers are wont to bury their vegetables for winter keeping; and here, one foot beneath the surface, they remain safe from cold and the furtive little animals that make nightly depredations upon the cellar and grain-room, for the sand is so fine that it rolls back to its place faster than the little thieves can claw it out." - The News and Herald, Winnsboro, SC, 22 February 1881, p1; --This same item appeared with the heading: "A Fairy Place Built by Nature's Hand" in The Weekly Herald, Cleveland, TN, 7 February 1878.


This story was posted on 2016-05-09 07:28:33
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