"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A "10" Day in Paducah, Kentucky

While staying in the area of eastern Kentucky called the Land Between the Lakes, we took a day trip to the town of Paducah, where we found three places that deserve to be added to anyone's list of things to see. They all get big "10's" from me. 

Paducah is at the confluence of the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers.  Because of that location, it has a long history of settlement, commerce and industry, going back to the "paleo and archaic Indian cultures." Paducah has done something truly remarkable to commemorate that history: the Wall to Wall Murals by Robert Dafford.  This link to Dafford's website has better pictures of all the murals if you're interested. 

Paducah's location is also the cause of a long history of devastating floods...

...and is now protected from the rising rivers by a long concrete flood wall. 

Rather than leave it a blank gray eyesore, they hired this incredible muralist to paint the history of the town on it. 

In addition to the beautifully detailed and richly colored paintings, 
in front of each one is a thoughtfully written plaque explaining the scene. 

 There are 52 wonderful murals, each more interesting than the next. They tell a story of the waves of industry and development that have shaped Paducah.  I've picked just a few to show you.  The old firehouse:

A historical montage of the African American community of Paducah:

Making pearl buttons made from river oysters was big business for awhile.

Moving freight along the river.

(The present day view of moving freight. That's Illinois on the other side of the river.) 

The churches in town. I love the image of them all being a part of the same branching tree.

The riverboats:

The atomic age - Paducah was the only US uranium enrichment plant until it closed in May of this year. What brought a boom to Paducah has now contributed to its current loss of jobs. 

After our walk along the mural, we lunched at a local treasure: Kirchoff's Bakery and Deli
Here are the cooks who make the great sandwiches that Kirchoff's is known for.

Painted on the wall is the logo from Kirchoff's famous Big Boy bread - a soft eggy white bread.

Yes, we would probably be as big bellied and the Big Boy if we lived here in Paducah. 
Their bakery is unbelievably yummy. We took away quite a few cookies and breads.

Kirchoff's is in the restored (or maybe well maintained) part of downtown, along with lots of galleries and restaurants. A fun place to browse for a hour of so, but it wasn't our last stop in Paducah!

That was the National Quilt Museum. Another "10"!  It's not a historical museum, but a large contemporary collection of outstanding quilts, some of which use traditional hand sewing, and others use the most advanced computerized sewing technology available. The exhibits were breathtaking. There unfortunately was no photography allowed in the galleries, but this quilt was in the conference room, so I dared to snap it. It's a carved wooden quilt. Really. Rick didn't believe it either.

Next, a month in Nashville for some rest and recuperation from the long stretch of travel that 
we've been doing since June! Who goes to Nashville to rest? 

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