Diamond Cave, one of Arkansas’s many noteworthy caves, is located on Henson Creek, three miles from Jasper (Newton County). Diamond Cave is an underground natural wonder, containing a display of stalactites, columns, and stalagmites running many miles into the mountain.
The discovery of Diamond Cave is credited to Samuel Hudson, a veteran hunter, an early settler in Newton County, and a member of the eleventh Arkansas General Assembly. Folklore has it that he and some companions discovered this cave while hunting bear early in the nineteenth century; he followed his dogs into the cave, discovered two of them dead from a battle with bears, and then killed one of the bears.
The name Diamond Cave probably came from the abundant minerals contained in the water that drips from the ceiling, causing a brilliant display of many colors. During the 1920s and 1930s, the cave was very popular, having a campground, hotel, restaurant, outdoor pavilion, and skating rink at the site. It officially opened for tours in 1925, though ownership and management of the cave have been transferred many times. Hundreds of tourists each day went through it. One of the most beautiful caves in Arkansas, it has several rooms, mineral formations, and clear pools. At the height of its popularity, the tour was approximately two miles long, but the cave still has many unexplored regions. It has been a source of study for geologists and students from every state in the country. The formations are known for their content, unusual color, and the musical tones they have been known to give out.
Diamond Cave was operated as a tourist attraction until the mid-1990s. The cave is at present privately owned and is not currently operating tours in order to protect this natural environment.
For additional information:
Lackey, Walter F. History of Newton County, Arkansas. Independence, MO: Zion’s Printing and Publishing Co., 1950.
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It would have been nice to see. Samuel L. Hudson is my great x4 grandfather. I was just showing my son some of our history and came across this.
Thank you so much for the memories! I searched for Diamond Cave because I visited there as a young child and wanted to come back this summer with my granddaughter. Very disappointed to hear that it is closed. We visited in the summer of 1952 or 1954, I think. My best friend’s dad was the manager or someone in charge for the summer tourist season, I think. Her name was Kay Ross, but I don’t remember her dad’s name. We had an amazing tour, then my cousin and I with Kay got a special tour back into some of the less-explored regions of the cave at that time. We crawled through some spots on our bellies! The experience gave me a love for caves, and I always wanted to revisit. Somewhere I have a picture of Kay and myself sitting on a bench in front of the entrance. Thank you again for the picture tour and history, much of what I remember hearing when there.
I toured Diamond Cave in the late 1950s when I was eleven or twelve. My father’s Cabot class of 1938 went there for its senior trip. My mother’s relative, Sam Hudson, discovered the cave. Her maternal grandmother’s maiden name is Hudson. I am sorry that it is no longer open for tours. I would have enjoyed seeing it again. As a youngster, I was in awe of the cave’s beauty.
Ive been going to Diamond Cave since I was born in 1955. Everyone in my family has been a guide there, but Grandpaw Beacher had the most impact on me there. I own land above it now and plan to build a log church and a recording studio/amphitheater for the youth here in Jasper to have a drama club and music.