Cave

Cave was the name given the post office for the Gaines and Lewis grist mill complex in 1890. It was located approximately two miles south of Kingston along Two-Run Creek and the Western & Atlantic Railroad (now CSX). According to Gaines family history, Lewis Pendleton Gaines applied for and received permission to operate a fourth class post office in 1868, which he named Cave, Georgia. The name was derived from Saltpeter Cave some 2 miles to the west. This mill was originally built around 1870 by H. S. Crawford who later sold to Louis Pendleton Gaines in 1879. Mr. Gaines moved with his family from Gordon County to the mill, establishing a partnership with his cousin, John Prince Lewis, operating as Gaines & Lewis, proprietors of Eureka Roller Mills. This was by no means a small operation as the five story mill building ground nearly a million pounds of grain in 1880 alone. A sidetrack extended from the Western & Atlantic Railroad to the mill, allowing for delivery of wheat and corn and the shipping of flour, corn meal and feed. A flag station on the railroad was also built for this thriving mill community which also took the name of Cave. Later when Mr. Lewis left the business in 1889, the mill operated as Gaines Mill. In 1909, Lewis moved with his family to Adairsville leaving management of the day to day operations with his son, J. P. Gaines. Flour production ceased in 1910 and corn grinding ceased in 1955. The post office closed in 1940.

From 1935 to 1937, many a young man and woman arrived at the Cave depot from Atlanta and surrounding counties to begin their short journey to nearby Saltpeter Cave. Three young men equipped with a fiddle, harmonica and banjo held public dances there. They constructed steps down to the floor of the cave, some 160 feet, building a wooden floor in the larger room for dancing. A lighting system was installed operated by batteries which were charged by a generator. For a fee of fifty cents per couple, people could dance the night away in a naturally air conditioned ballroom. For an additional twenty five cents, a tour of the cave was available.

As of 2012, nothing remains of the old mill, side track or flag station. However, an early twentieth century iron bridge crossing Two Run Creek at the old mill site which was once part of the old Rome Road remains. The Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, located south of Cave, remains and was established in 1913 for the area mill workers and farmers. The original church was destroyed by a tornado on March 21, 1932, but was rebuilt that same year. School was held at the church into the 1920’s.


Source: History of Bartow County, Formerly Cass by Lucy Josephine Cunyus; Saltpeter Cave by Terry Papproth; Etowah Valley Historical Society Newsletter, November 1992; Verbal discussion with EVHS member Victor Mulinix; United States and Worldwide Postal History by Jim Forte; The Cultural History of Grist Milling in Northwest Georgia, A Dissertation by Donald Gregory Jeane; History of the Gaines Family by L. P. Gaines; Bartow County Caves, History Underground in North Georgia by Joel M. Sneed; Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book, Vol. 1, Compiled by Bartow County Genealogical Society.

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