Category Archives: Abandoned

Abandoned category

Silo Overlook in Land Between The Lakes

This was the former Silo Overlook while still in operation. Thanks to Bryan for sharing.

Prior to the Land Between The Lakes being taken over the by US Forest Service from TVA, one of the more popular attractions in the park was Silo Overlook.  It was located on the shores of Lake Barkley near Honker Lake at the end of Mulberry Flat Road (GPS 36.908W, 88.016N).

The structure was an abandoned silo that rises about 40 feet from the ground.  It was converted into an overlook with a wooden incline built to the top.  Folks could walk up the top of the silo for beautiful views of Lake Barkley.

Sometime in the late 1990s, or perhaps during the Forest Service/TVA transfer, Silo Overlook was abandoned.  We aren’t sure why but can speculate that is was for safety and liability reasons.  The access road has been barricaded and closed to vehicular traffic, but you can walk down the old road to the remains of Silo Overlook.

The first portion of the walkway/incline has been removed to keep people off of the silo.  The rest of it is in terrible condition with all the wood deteriorating.  Extensive renovations would be needed if Silo Overlook were to ever open again.

While there, we also explored the shoreline of Lake Barkley and took some photos of some interesting objects.  As always, if you can provide any insight into these objects or the silo (especially if you have old photos of Silo Overlook open), please share them with us by emailing info@explorekentuckylake.com.  We’ll credit you on this page with any information provided.

Thanks to Bryan for the photo at the top showing Silo Overlook’s glory days.  The remaining photos shown here are from our trip in November 2008.

The old Silo Overlook.
The old Silo Overlook.
Looking up at the old silo.
Wood is deteriorating at Silo Overlook.
What would have been the view, but has since grown up quite a bit.
The old Silo Overlook.
Navigation marker.
Walking along the shores of Lake Barkley near Silo Overlook.
An old pipe, surely abandoned, comes out from the banks of Lake Barkley and disappears into the waters.
From the shores of Lake Barkley, what appears to be an old wheel sticking up out of the water.
The old parking lot at Silo Overlook.
The barricade across the access road to Silo Overlook.

Vampire Hotel in Land Between The Lakes

The only photo we have been able to come across of the “Vampire Hotel” in LBL. If you have some photos of the original structure, please share them with us!

“Vampire Hotel” (moniker) is an abandoned structure near Kentucky Lake in the Land Between The Lakes.  The stone and concrete structure was partially torn down in the 1960s with the creation of LBL but part of it remained.  It was one of just a handful of remaining structures in LBL not completely removed.  Throughout the 1990s, it had become a popular hangout spot with locals – some of whom were less than reputable.

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Old Danville Transfer Elevator

We’ve always enjoyed experiencing and seeing the oddities of the Four Rivers region. That’s why this site, Four Rivers Explorer, exists.  But before we began this site, we had a section of our main tourism site, Explore Kentucky Lake, that was dedicated to the unusual and lesser-known aspects of our area.  We called the section “Explorations”.

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Great Western Iron Furnace

The Great Western Iron Furnace.

The remains of this limestone slab furnace are all that is left of The Great Western Iron Works. Great Western opened in 1855 and in a 34-week period produced 1,350 tons of iron. The production of high-quality iron required twenty bushels of charcoal, 800 pounds of ore, and 80 pounds of limestone.

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St. Stephen’s Church in Land Between The Lakes

St. Stephen’s Church in Land Between The Lakes is historically significant because it is only one of a handful of the known original remaining buildings in LBL. The church was built in 1900 by German Americans seeking a place to worship. The final service was held in 1945. For the next 18 years, the church sat vacant next to the church’s cemetery.

Why The Building Remains is a Mystery

In 1963, when TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) began acquisition of land between Kentucky Lake and the soon-to-be Lake Barkley (completed the following year) for the creation of LBL, the church was completely overlooked. Why? We aren’t sure, but one of our theories is that the access road to the church from Kentucky 289 was flooded when Lake Barkley was created.

This USGS topo map from the 1950s shows the former access road from Kentucky 289 before Lake Barkley was created.

Kentucky 289 and most of the church’s original access road is now underwater and pretty much destroyed. However, a cemetery resides there next to the church, a cemetery that people would surely not forget about; so our theory may not hold water.

However, one way we can back our theory is by the maps shown here. Today, LBL Road #415 (which was created after LBL’s inception) is the new access point to the church and cemetery.

Restoration

The church wasn’t forgotten by everyone. In 2000, a group known as “Between the Rivers, Inc.” requested permission and was approved by U.S. Forest Service to restore the old church. It was done after nearly 4,000 hours of man labor.

The drive down LBL Road #415 is very interesting, too. It is a very windy, hilly, one-lane gravel road that could be, at times, impassible. You probably don’t want to take a Lexus down the road, but most of the time most vehicles can get there. The road is about two miles long and is accessible by taking Old Ferry Road (LBL Road #117, Old Kentucky 58) to LBL Road #122. If you blink, you’ll miss it, but it is a fun road trip to take. When you get there, you will certainly appreciate the church and the effort put into it, as well as the historical significance of the 120-year-old structure.

The Last Resident of Land Between The Lakes

Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area was once home to over 2,000 families and several small tight-knit communities. The Tennessee Valley Authority took over the vast 170,000-acre peninsula between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in the 1960s. TVA purchased the land from the families and many of them found new homes in nearby communities.

One resident, however, refused to move.

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Old School Bus in Land Between The Lakes

A few weeks ago, Lisa Trimble, a Facebook fan of Four Rivers Explorer, sent me a photo of an old abandoned school bus in Land Between The Lakes.

I asked Lisa regarding the whereabouts of the bus and she gave me some good information on how to find it. The location is a popular hunt for geocachers and actually has a name on geocaching.com – Homer’s Garage.

The remains of a foundation which could have been Mr. Ray’s garage.

Finding skeletal remains of civilization in Land Between The Lakes isn’t rare.  However, a stripped down school bus is a one-of-a-kind discovery.  Despite the fact that the old bus is odd and usual, it’s history is not much of a mystery.

According to geocaching.com, the name Homer’s Garage comes from Homer Ray, a former resident of Land Between The Lakes before it became a national recreation area. Mr. Ray owned Ray’s Garage, a shop located where the remains of the bus is today.

Mr. Ray was one of the last people to leave Land Between The Lakes in 1969.  He relocated to Eddyville and operated a garage there until his death in 1981.

Much of the land surrounding the former site of Homer’s Garage was owned by his family.  Mr. Ray’s father, Cordie, operated the Kuttawa Ferry across the Cumberland River.  Ray and many of his family members are buried in Sardis Cemetery in Land Between The Lakes.

About The Old Bus

Trees are beginning to grow around and into the bus which has been sitting in the same spot for around 50 years.

I am not an expert at identifying old cars, let alone a bus that is 60 years old. It appears to have belonged to the Lyon County School District; you can see faint lettering on the bus reading “Lyon County”.

It also appeared to seat 32 people, with eight seats on each side of the bus.  It’s been striped of virtually everything, leaving only the shell. If you think you know what year, make and model of the bus is, feel free to comment or email me.

Find The Bus

Getting to the bus is not difficult.  It is located in northern Land Between The Lakes.  From the Trace, take Old Ferry Road and go about 6.5 miles to LBL Road #126.  Take that road and travel about a half mile until LBL Road #126 splits into #127.  You’re in the general area.

Find a place to park on the side of the road . There is an old driveway with a mound of dirt and gravel near a modern road sign.  Take this path and head into the woods about 500 feet or so.  You’ll see the bus in front of you. The bus can be spotted from #126 in the winter months.

As always, leave no trace! In the warm months, make sure you watch where you step and check yourself for ticks.

There is a geocache at this site. You can get GPS coordinates for Homer’s Garage at geocaching.com.

More Photos of the Old Bus

Here’s some pics I took of the old bus.

Empire Farm in Land Between The Lakes

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.

Old Canton Gas Station

While exploring the historic community of Canton, we discovered this abandoned filling station on the old main drag through town.

A sign painted across the top of the windows and garage door read “Tires,  Free Air & Accessories.”  The building had a marker near the top proclaiming to be constructed by the Masons in 1919.

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The Life & Death of Golden Pond, Kentucky

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.

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