The mighty Mississippi is an extraordinarily long and meandering
river. It seems to mock its role as one of Americas principal
waterways by turning north and south, east and west repeatedly
in its course. But in no location is the bizarre nature of this
river more explicitly illustrated than at the New Madrid Bend.
The New Madrid Bend is an almost 360º turn in the Mississippi
approximately 150 miles south of St. Louis. Unfortunately, it
is located at precisely the right latitude to cause a strange
border situation between Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
As you may already know, the southern border of Kentucky is a
straight line. The New Madrid Bend causes the Mississippi to dip
south of this line, then back up north of it, and then once again
down south of it. (see map)
While the Mississippi determines the western border of both Tennessee
and Kentucky and the eastern border of Missouri, it apparently
has no powers to create a northern or southern border. This is
understandable, since the river flows essentially from north to
south, though in a remarkably roundabout way.
As you can see on the map, an odd sort of solution to this border
conundrum has been devised. As a result, however, the land within
the New Madrid Bend is a disconnected portion of Kentucky. This
odd place, lovingly referred to as Bubbleland by the staff of
Motel, is only accessible by land from the rest of Kentucky by
traveling through Tennessee.
On a fact-finding mission to New Madrid, Motel found few answers
to this puzzling situation. From the New Madrid side of the river,
it appears Bubbleland is devoid of settlements, though one cannot
be certain. Kentucky maps show one insignificant road leading
to Bubbleland from Tiptonville, Tennessee, but no towns.
The historical plaques in New Madrid make no mention of Bubblelands
peculiar situation. Alas, no knowledgeable old-timer was hanging
about to tell us the tale.
Motel speculates that the massive earthquake which rocked New
Madrid in the early 1800s may have changed the course of the river
and created Bubbleland. But, still, a lack of solid, accessible
information keeps Bubbleland shrouded in mystery.