Located on the city side of the flood walls are a series of murals depicting the history of the city of Paducah. You can spend the day reading and looking at all the murals, with stops across the street for lunch, snacks, tea; or stroll along and enjoy the colors and what ever you leaps out to catch your attention.
Whitehaven is an old mansion on the outskirts of Paducah along Interstate 24. One section of the mansion now serves as a visitor center for travelers on Interstate 24. The rest of the mansion has been preserved as a museum and is open to tourists. In addition to period furniture, it also houses exhibits about Paducah's history, with a focus on Alben Barkley, a Paducah native who served as Vice President under Harry Truman.
Whitehaven was originally built during the 1860s, and then was added onto a few times after that. It eventually was abandoned in the 1970s and fell into disrepair before the state and local governments rescued it in the 1980s and restored it.
A great activity for kids in Paducah is to go Noble Park. In the middle of Noble Park, there is a large pond that has dozens of ducks and geese that like to be fed by human visitors. Bring a loaf of bread and you will be instantly popular with the various ducks and geese that live on and around the pond. If your kids get tired of the pond, there is a nice little playground nearby that will keep them entertained.
The Market House Theatre is a regional theatre in dowtown Paducah that hosts plays and musicals featuring local actors. The theatre is located in the historic Market House building in downtown Paducah. In addition to performances, it also offers acting classes for children.
Just west of downtown Paducah lies the Lower Town Fine Arts District, which is a neighborhood whose old houses are being converted into artists' studios. This is being done through an ingenious program under which the Paducah city government sells old homes in need of repair to artists for very low prices in return for the artists helping to fix them up and then later using them as their studios and galleries. As a result of this program, a once blighted neighborhood has come alive and is now a hub of cultural activity. A number of the renovated houses are open to the public as galleries. In addition, there are some cafes and restaurants in the neighborhood.
The Market House Museum is a good little history museum located in downtown Paducah's historic Market House building. The museum features numerous exhibits about Paducah's history, including the city's first motorized fire truck and the intact interior of an old Paducah drugstore.
The Lloyd Tilghman House and Civil War Museum is a small museum that commemorates the life of Lloyd Tilghman, a Paducah resident who served as a general in the Confederate army during the US Civil War. The museum is located in the house in which Tilghman and his family lived, and contains a number of rooms full of exhibits about the Tilghman family, the accomplishments of Lloyd Tilghman, and the Civil War's impact on Paducah. The docent that was there when we visited was excellent. He was very friendly, and gave us a very interesting overview of Lloyd Tilghman and his role in the development of Paducah, as well as his role in the Civil War.
Lloyd Tilghman was a West Point graduate who became a railroad executive and eventually settled in Paducah in the 1850s. He was responsible for bringing the railroads to Paducah, which, when combined with the city's riverfront port, made Paducah the major transport hub for the Western Kentucky region. When the Civil War broke out, he volunteered for service in the Confederate Army, and was put in charge of forts in Tennessee. Unfortunately, the first fort to which he was assigned had a terrible location in a flood plain, and was overrun during a flood by the Union Army. General Tilghman was taken prisoner, but later released in a prisoner exchange. He then was sent to help lead the defense of Vicksburg, a major port along the Mississippi River. He was killed during the Battle of Champion's Hill outside of Vicksburg in 1863.
We highly recommend a visit to the Tilghman House Museum if you are a history buff, especially if you are someone interested in military history. Admission is only $3 for adults.
The Luther Carson Four Rivers Center is Paducah's new concert hall (it was completed in 2004). It is a topnotch facility, which seats 1800 people. The Center hosts numerous concerts and performances throughout the year.
The River Heritage Museum features a number of exhibits regarding the Ohio River and Paducah's river-related history and economy. Many of the exhibits are interactive and child-friendly. Examples of some of the exhibits include a model riverboat collection, a simulated flood, and a riverboat calliope. The museum also has a theater that shows a movie about the Ohio River and its history.
Paducah is the home of the Museum of the American Quilter's Society. The organization's national quilt museum is located in downtown Paducah and features dozens of beautiful antique and contemporary quilts. Paducah hosts a large quilting convention every year, and many of the prize- winning quilts are on display in the museum. In addition to the quilts on display, the museum also has a gift shop where you can buy quilting books and other quilt-related paraphenalia.
Broadway is the main street in downtown Paducah. It begins at the Ohio River and runs south. The first five blocks or so from the Ohio River constitute the heart of Paducah's historic downtown area, and are full of restaurants and antique shops. On Saturday nights in the summer, this section of Broadway is turned into a pedestrian street with bands and other live entertainment.
Every April, for about 6 years now, my sister and I head on down to Paducah for the Quilt show. We go on Saturday (the last day of the show) and walk around for hours. It's nice to have some "sister time"! I'm not that keen on quilts but have seen many beautiful ones there!
Downtown Paducah is protected from Ohio River floods by a large floodwall. A number of years ago, the town began decorating the floodwall with large murals depicting the history and people of Paducah and the surrounding area. New murals, which are funded by donations from local citizens and businesses, are added every year. There are currently about 20 murals on the floodwall.
There are some places to visit around Paducah that are there all the time, ( such as the National Quilters Museum). Having rail, road, river and air transportation systems serving the area means there are plenty of chances to see things a lot of people miss. Some sights are mobile and you have to catch them when the timing is right. This means you need to check the newspaper or local news to find out what is happening. Check the Travelogue for some of the things I have been able to see right here at home.
This is a new addition to Paducah. Has the top names in live entertainment. They range from Bill Cosby to Lonestar.