Rivers, Dams and Lakes


The creation of Kentucky and Barkley Lakes provided
a way to control wild rampages of the rivers. Flooding
that cost life and livelihood was lessened or
eliminated. A navigation industry began to flourish,
and hydroelectric power was generated. A vast
recreation industry emerged on the lakes. But, many
families who lived near the rivers were displaced when
the ‘Great Lakes of the South’ were created.
Controversy still exists as to the wisdom of the dams,
and yet many helped in their construction, and some
never lived to see them finished.

Ballad of the River's Feud

Just take two rivers, the savage floods,
Wild waters running free,
An’ pit them ‘gainst the Greenwood men,
Battle for victory.

The surgin’ water, a whirlpool’s reign,
The current’s white-cap foam,
A tamin’ job for Kentucky’s men,
A fight to save their home.

A strugglin’ life was the river’s price,
Caused fear and sometimes hate.
To live with threats of waters’ play,
The rivers ruled their fate.

To plant their crops with a prayer to God,
To hold the river’s tide,
But demon Spring would flood them out,
And flooded crops just died.

To lose a fight to man or flood
Was not the Greenwood way,
So a feud against the ragin’ floods
Could save the farming day.

The river’s not an easy foe
As river men could tell.
It’d drown all life with merciless choke,
At best, a liquid Hell.

Cumberland and Tennessee both foes,
Against the damin’ men.
Long battles the feudin’ rivers fought,
But one they couldn’t win.

The concrete, beam steel and labor’s lust,
The swirlin’ fight for life,
The screamin’ waters both took their toll,
Left many a weepin’ wife.

Long years it took to tame the waters
That held the Greenwood land.
The cost was measured in flesh and blood,
Washed up in river sand.

Today upon the Lakeland waters,
The children’s laughter rings,
But the feud of the rivers’ tamin’,
A nightmare’s memory brings.

Clear-glass water where the battles were,
Twin dams, the victor’s spoils,
Kentucky and the Barkley standin’
Above where waters boiled.

Their boilin’ held by the hand of man,
His courage, sweat and skill,
An’ the stories that will linger on,
A tribute to his will.

Proud giants on the rivers standin’,
Strength from their builder’s hand,
Forgettin’ not their maker’s tamin’
The Greenwood river-land.


No part of this book should be copied, reprinted or reposted without permission or consent of Lynn M. Hodges.
Posted on Between The Rivers.org with permission of Lynn M. Hodges