Fulotn County, KY - It’s one of the most remote parts of our great commonwealth. Known as the “Kentucky Bend,” this small stretch of farmland is bordered on three sides by the Mississippi River. Its only landlocked border is with Tennessee on the southern end so in order to get there by a car you actually have to leave Kentucky!
From Louisville the journey to the Kentucky Bend stretches across the Commonwealth on the Western Kentucky Parkway but for any day-tripper the real sight-seeing happens once you hit the state highways and side roads. The Kentucky Bend is actually a notch of land surrounded on three sides by the Mississippi River, approximately 300 miles southwest of Louisville. At the eastern edge of the Bend the Mississippi actually turns north. New Madrid, Missouri is across the river from the northern tip of the Bend. By car it would take more than 90 minutes to drive to New Madrid from the center of the Bend. There’s only one paved road in and that’s Tennessee 22. The bubble of real estate occupies about 14-thousand acres of land, but is only home to an estimated 12 residents. Most are farmers. A good portion of the land is actually protected in order to preserve the area wildlife and wetlands.
Floodwater has restricted access to an already remote piece of land. At the edge of the backwaters we meet longtime resident and farmer Donald Lynn.
“You’re the first person we’ve seen today, besides the mailman this morning," Lynn tells Spectrum News 1's Jonathon Gregg. “Well, we love it. I’m 49 and I’ve been here on the farm 48 years. And we wouldn't have it any other way.” On this hot and humid day in mid-May, Lynn is tuning up a John Deere planter. His sister Lucy Reynolds has driven in from across the state line to help. Lynn says there’s just something about this part of the commonwealth that has people curious. "The way I look at it we’re kind of on an island and it’s like you’re on vacation every day. Or at least that’s what I tell my wife.”
The nearest town is about a 15 minute drive on the Tennessee side. The closest voting both is a 30 minute drive. And while it may seem cutoff from the rest of the world Lynn says with the internet and other modern luxuries life in the Bend isn't as isolating as one might think. When Lynn wants something faster pace he and his family take trips to St. Louis for Cardinal's games and Lexington for UK basketball.
Lynn is a third generation farmer of the Kentucky Bend. He's aiming to plant more than 800 acres of crops including corn. He manages more than 1000 acres of woodlands as well. Over the years Lynn says the Bend has had its share of interesting visitors including, campaigning politicians, lost truck drivers and in the early 1990's three escaped inmates tried laying low in the Bend, but all drowned in the attempt.
At one time the Kentucky Bend was one home to the largest recorded Magnolia tree in the commonwealth. Unfortunately a storm took the tree years back. Other than that, the only real landmark is a pioneer commentary, with several birthdates going back as far as the late 1700’s. It's truly a unique part of the world, a place its residents don't ever imagine leaving.
Donald Lynn puts it this way, “I don’t think we’ll ever leave from here or sellout. We try not to get in a hurry. Sometimes when you get into a hurry farming it’s when you screw up so we like to take our time and do it right. That’s what we were always taught.”