By Garry Mason
Buchanan Resort. Where friends and fishermen meet.
On a hill in Northwest Tennessee stands an iconic place. A place where all kinds of dreams can come true. A place where generations of friends and family have come to share decades of memories while creating new adventures together for future generations to share. That place is known as Buchanan Resort. Named for the farmer, who after losing his land to the creation of the massive Kentucky Lake, decided to turn lemons into lemonade by building what has become the biggest family-owned resort and marina on the largest manmade lake East of the Mighty Mississippi River.
TVA's Kentucky Lake project—and the Dam which holds back the waters of the Tennessee River—began in 1938 but would not finish filling to full capacity until nearly ten years later. In the meantime farmlands that would soon be under water were being purchased from landowners and were being cleared to make way for this new, scenic, sprawling waterway.
John Buchanan, the founder of Buchanan resort, had farmed the low lying areas and bottomlands around Eagle Creek which flowed into the Big Sandy near his home for most of his life. That lifestyle came to a close in 1946 with the completion of Kentucky Dam forty-five miles down river to the north of Johns farm.
Many farmers simply moved away from this region or found jobs in nearby towns. Rather than move from his beloved home, John Buchanan decided to grasp opportunity by the horns and build a resort. Little did he know that he would help to create a legacy for his children and grandchildren and now great-grandchildren to follow.
Buchanan Resort and Marina has seen a lot of changes since the days of Mr. John’s wooden boats lined up on the bank of the small resort. He kept an honor box for boat rental money placed on a tree several feet away. Mr. John’s family-owned resort, under the leadership and hard work of his daughter Carolyn and son-in-law Johnny Williams, began to grow. It is now a beautiful resort that has become a full community with cottages and condos, cabins and campers.
Buchanan Resort offers a full-service marina, boat and motor repair shop, and the famous Oak Tree Grill. The Grill is named after the two-hundred-year-old Oak tree that still stands today. It is a reminder of what can be, if one just dreams big enough.
Whether you love to fish, ski, boat ride, or just kick back with a good book soaking up some Sun, Buchanan’s has it all.
Full-service fishing guides are also available as well as pontoon boat rental.
Over seventy plus years of operation has brought many changes to this lake hillside resort but the constant glue that has held it all together is the family and legacy that one man created.
It is now owned by Mr. John’s granddaughter, Pam, her husband, Rusty Robison, and their three daughters, Buchanan Resort has its sights set on generations to come.