Empire Farm is an abandoned farming educational and demonstration area in Land Between The Lakes. Empire Farm once served as the headquarters of the Kentucky Woodlands National Wildlife Refuge in the 1930s. The refuge covered large swaths of land in the northern portion of present-day Land Between The Lakes.
When Land Between The Lakes became a National Recreation Area in the 1960s, Empire Farm became an agricultural education center until sometime in the 1980s. The fields today are still maintained by cooperative farmers, but the buildings and barns have been abandoned for quite some time.
Crystal Akers recently sent us these photos of her own personal exploration of Empire Farm. If you want to explore this area for yourself, see the Google Map below the photos for directions.
Photos of Empire Farm
Thanks again to Crystal Akers for the great photos.
Location of Empire Farm
This area is located in the northeastern part of Land Between The Lakes near the abandoned Silo Overlook.
Let’s face it – moving can be painful. Chances are everyone reading this article has moved at least once in their lifetime. Kids move out and get married. Newlyweds move from apartment to apartment or to their first home. Sometimes folks will upgrade homes and move to a bigger house to accommodate their expanding family.
In the mid-1800s, the iron ore industry exploded in the area known as “Between the Rivers.” With its prime location due to its close proximity to the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, the industry flourished. These rivers were the best way to transport goods since railroads did not exist in this area at that time.
The creation of Kentucky Lake in the 1940s put a lot of things underwater. Farms, homes, businesses, roads, railroads, cemeteries and entire communities. Danville, Tennessee was one of the communities that permanently flooded when the Tennessee River was impounded to create Kentucky Lake.
The former site of Danville is located near present-day McKinnon. The story of Danville is unique with the fact that two large structures of the former town still remain – the abandoned and partially removed L&N Railroad bridge and the transfer elevator.
The Hardin Southern Railroad was a nostalgic passenger train that ran along about eight miles of track between Hardin and Murray, Ky. The railroad wound its way along the Clark’s River valley through dense forests and farmland. The train began operations in 1993 and ceased in 2004.
Birmingham, Kentucky was the most notable community affected by the creation of Kentucky Lake. The town of several hundred people was situated on the banks of the Tennessee River in Marshall County, Kentucky.
For reasons not known to us, the town didn’t relocate in the early 1940s when TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) built a dam on the Tennessee River. The town was flooded permanently under several feet of water.