• A water drop clings onto the edge of a orange stalactite, surrounded by white stalactites.

    Timpanogos Cave

    National Monument Utah

Vearl Manwill

Black and white portrait of Vearl Manwill.

Portrait of Vearl Manwill.

NPS

Though the entrance to Timpanogos Cave was lost after initial discovery in 1913, rumors of the mysterious cave abounded, fueled by an article appearing in the American Fork Citizen in 1921. Vearl Manwill became intrigued, having spent much of his childhood in American Fork Canyon. Manwill contacted Martin Hansen for any advice he could offer about finding the lost cave. Hansen advised Manwill to search along the same elevation Hansen Cave.

Manwill and a small group set out to visit Hansen Cave and search for the lost cave entrance on August 14, 1921. They explored Hansen Cave, finding damage to the formations by previous visitors. They then split up to search for the mystery cave. Climbing and exploring further east, Manwill stopped to rest and noticed what he referred to as "artificial masonry" and kicked at it. The rocks fell into a hole, and he dug at it and soon realized he had discovered the lost cave entrance! Gathering the group, they all explored as far back as "Father Time's Jewel Box" creating human ladders and bridges to do so. After exploring the cave with his group, they formed the Payson Alpine Club that evening around the campfire, resolving to protect the cave. Manwill was voted president of the group, and his sister Elon Manwill, the secretary.

 
Black and white photo of the Payson Alpine Club in Timpanogos Cave.
The Payson Alpine Club inside Timpanogos Cave. Members included: Vearl Manwill, Elon Manwill, Dr. and Mrs. Pfouts, George Martin, Florence Fairbanks, Dr. and Mrs. A. N. Early, Wells Calderwood, and Pearl Taylor.
NPS

Did You Know?

Helictite

Timpanogos Cave is known for its high concentration of helictites - a spiraling cave formation that seems to defy gravity. Helictites are formed when calcite crystals and dissolved impurities are forced out of a tiny central canal in the helictite by hydrostatic pressure.