Connecting People and Place: The Lost Communities of Between the Rivers

May 19, 2020

Before there was Land Between the Lakes, there was Between the Rivers. Starting this Thursday, WKMS will revisit a documentary series about the cluster of small communities nestled between the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers prior to the creation of the national recreational area.

Originally broadcast in 1997-98, Connecting People & Place was started as a cooperative oral history project between WKMS and Land Between the Lakes. The project turned into a 13-part series with support from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Oral History Commission. 

Constance Alexander, award-winning poet, playwright and fiction-writer, interviewed almost sixty former residents of Between the Rivers. Some residents' connections to the slim stretch of land between western Kentucky and Tennessee dated back to the Revolutionary War. 

"Over the years, hundreds of families were displaced with the construction of dams, bridges, and roads. Homes, businesses, churches, farms, and schools, were bulldozed and buried to create a National Recreational Area. Today, most vestiges of human habitation are gone, except for the 200-plus small cemeteries that dot the 170,000-acre expanse of LBL," Alexander writes

In celebration of WKMS' 50th anniversary, Connecting People & Place will be rebroadcast weekly through July, starting this Thursday, May 21st. "The first segment that airs...includes background about the geological history of Between the Rivers and information about its earliest inhabitants. More current history is covered by former residents reminiscing about growing up in small, self-sufficient communities, where people were proud, self-sufficient, and generous."

Listen to two half-hour segments of Connecting People & Place every Thursday at noon, starting this Thursday, May 21st, through July 2nd. You can listen at 91-3 FM or online

Online clips from a film project about Between the Rivers are available at www.betweentheriversfilm.com