Greeting the Riverboats
Because it is a port on the Ohio River, Paducah is visited by the large riverboats (Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen, etc.) that carry tourists up and down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. When the ships arrive and leave, a group of Paducah citizens, known as the Paducah Ambassadors, assemble at the riverbank to greet and wave hello and goodbye to the ships' passengers. The Ambassadors dress up in Red blazers and wave red handkerchiefs. It may sound corny, but is a very friendly gesture on the part of the townspeople and makes the passengers feel more welcome in Paducah. The Paducah Ambassadors also answer questions that the passengers have as they come ashore, and also act as tour guides for them.
The great Iron Horse
This old steam locomotive is located at First St. & Broadway. During the days of steam, Paducah had the largest production and maintenance shops for steam locomotives in the central United States. This is an example of the engines built in the shops here.
The engine was once located about 4 blocks away inside a chain link fence. When it was moved to First St., the fence was not put up but a warning sign to stay off was placed. I guess the sign was removed because no one paid any attention. A lot of time and money was spent removing the boilers asbestos insulation to reduce the health hazard.
This view is inside the engine cab. You can see some of the controls and the fire box. I was standing inside the coal bunker trying to get this picture. Getting the grandkids to stand still for a picture is like herding cats.
There was talk of restoring the engine and using it on excursions around the area. That idea had to be dropped because all the tools and dies needed to make the parts and the men with the skills to use them are all long gone.
This is one large piece of history you can get close to. It is so big and solid, you can almost feel it's weight. Hard to believe it could move let alone pull loaded cars.