Darrow’s sons operated the cave until 1917. On the eve of America’s entry into World War I, the Darrow closed the caves to the public. The Fairy Caves were closed for 82 years until current owners Steve and Jeanne Beckley reopened them to the public in 1999. In 1960, with special permission, cave explorers discovered “Jam Crack,” a narrow passageway barely big enough for a man to squeeze through. This crevice led to the finding of one of the largest and most decorated cave rooms in Colorado. The magnificent five-story room was so enormous that it was dubbed “The Barn.”
At the time Darrow was developing the site as a tourist destination, the scientific community knew little about the preservation of caves. Unfortunately, when heat and outside air are allowed into a cave as was done with the small portion of the cave known as the Fairy Caves, the cave stops growing and living. Since taking ownership, the Beckleys have applied rigorous preservation methods and once “dead” historic sections are beginning to show signs of new growth.