Sweet hubby and I took a motorcycle trip to Reelfoot Lake and Reelfoot Lake State Park. It was a fantastic day, perfect weather, not a cloud in the sky, temp in the 80's, nice breeze, and I was with my sweetie. In case you don't know about Reelfoot Lake: Between mid-December 1811 and mid-March 1812 a series of catastrophic earthquakes shook West Tennessee and the rest of the Central Mississippi Valley. Click images to enlarge:
The New Madrid Seizmic Zone. The fourth earthquake created Reelfoot Lake:
The four earthquakes:
- December 16, 1811, 0815 UTC (2:15 a.m.); (M ~7.2 – 8.1) epicenter in northeast Arkansas. It caused only slight damage to man-made structures, mainly because of the sparse population in the epicentral area. The future location of Memphis, Tennessee experienced level IX shaking on the Mercalli intensity scale. A seismic seiche propagated upriver, and Little Prairie (a village that was on the site of the former Fort San Fernando, near the site of present-day Caruthersville, Missouri) was heavily damaged by soil liquefaction.
- December 16, 1811, 1415 UTC (8:15 a.m.); (M ~7.2–8.1) epicenter in northeast Arkansas. This shock followed the first earthquake by six hours and was similar in intensity.
- January 23, 1812, 1500 UTC (9 a.m.); (M ~7.0–7.8) epicenter in the Missouri Bootheel. The meizoseismal area was characterized by general ground warping, ejections, fissuring, severe landslides, and caving of stream banks. Johnson and Schweig attributed this earthquake to a rupture on the New Madrid North Fault. This may have placed strain on the Reelfoot Fault.
- February 7, 1812, 0945 UTC (4:45 a.m.); (M ~7.4–8.0) epicenter near New Madrid, Missouri. New Madrid was destroyed. At St. Louis, Missouri, many houses were severely damaged, and their chimneys were toppled. This shock was definitively attributed to the Reelfoot Fault by Johnston and Schweig. Uplift along a segment of this reverse fault created temporary waterfalls on the Mississippi at Kentucky Bend, created waves that propagated upstream, and caused the formation of Reelfoot Lake by obstructing streams in what is now Lake County, Tennessee.
These events, as well as the seismic zone of their occurrence, were named for the Mississippi River town of New Madrid, then part of the Louisiana Territory, now within Missouri. Judging from reports and eyewitness accounts, the quakes would have measured among the highest ever recorded on the modern Richter scale. (Tennessee Historical Society)
Reelfoot Lake State Park is a state park in the northwest corner of Tennessee in the United States. It encompasses Reelfoot Lake and is situated in Lake and Obion counties. A major hunting and fishing preserve, it comprises 25,000 acres (100 km2), 15,000 acres (61 km2) of which are water, and harbors almost every kind of shorebird, as well as the golden and American bald eagles. Other animals are also diverse and abundant. The many species of flowering and non-flowering plants attract botany enthusiasts from all over the country. Baldcypress dominates the margins of the lake, but many other trees and shrubs are also present. (Wikipedia).
Hubby and I had been to Reelfoot Late two previous times. One visit was while attending college. It was in October, Halloween to be exact. Cold. Raining. Camping. Freezing. Not even seeing the Bald Eagles could make things warm up. The second time was when our daughter was a young child.
The lake and park are a great place to visit. There is plenty of hunting, fishing, cabins, restaurants. A very nice vacation for those who have never visited Reelfoot Lake.
One thing we really miss is the Air Park. An airport on the Reelfoot Lake State Park land where you can fly-in, park your plane, camp in the beautiful campgrounds, or walk across the lawn and have a great meal in the Air Park Inn. Years ago the sweet Grouch had a 4 seat Pipe Cherokee. We would fly in to the park with friends on weekends, par the plane, eat at the restaurant, then fly home. The inn and restaurant are no longer open.
The airport is empty. What a shame.
The Airpark Inn may be on the road to ruins. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is considering the possibility of demolishing the inn at Reelfoot Lake State Park. Officials believe it will take more money to rehabilitate the inn than it would to remove it. The state plans to erect a fence to block access to the closed facility.
The Airpark Inn is probably closed forever.
The landmark structure in Reelfoot Lake State Park shut its doors in November. A fire had destroyed six of the inn's 20 rooms.
A January ice storm complicated matters. The inn was without electricity or heat for nearly two weeks. Water pipes froze and burst. The inn's water supply was cut off and remains off. The inn's remaining rooms can't be reopened until the water lines - and several other problems - are fixed.
Instead of repairing the inn, the state may demolish it.
The inn, which was built on piers over Reelfoot Lake in the early 1970s, won a number of architectural awards. Now, it is considered too dilapidated for repairs.
The concrete foundation/platform on which the entire facility is constructed (including walkways and structures) is significantly degraded, said Meg Lockhart, deputy communications director for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Engineering reports completed before the fire indicated the repairs would be far too expensive because of environmental requirements, the inn's unique design and location, and the nature of the existing structure itself. (continue reading here)
We stopped in Jackson Tenessee and ate at the Flatiron Grill. Oh my. Such good food. We've only eaten there three times now and each one was a memorable experience.
In spite of the sad situation with the Air Park Inn and Restaurant, it was a wonderful day spent with my soul mate. Wonderful memories of times past. Wonderful new memories made today.
I'm a very lucky girl and I thank God every day for my sweet hubby. I especially like days like today -- when I have him all to myself.