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Art in Paducah

Museum Statues

Museum Statues

Paducah is an art-centric community.  Statues are sprinkled throughout the town, in front of restaurants, shops, and other establishments, supplemented by an abundance of flowering plants.  We were there right at the peak of the dogwood blooming season, although I didn’t manage to capture a good image of them.  Azaleas also were prominent along residential areas.

In 1999,Robert Dafford completed the “1873 Bird’s Eye View” of Paducah from the Ohio river.

The Floodwall that protects historic downtown Paducah from the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers overflowing their banks includes three city blocks of painted murals that capture important moments in Paducah’s history.  The murals were designed & painted by Robert Dafford and the Dafford Muralists of Lafayette, Louisiana. The project began in 1996; the last panel was completed in 2007. Each mural panel has an interpretative plaque with a short history lesson on the scene depicted in the panel. Each panel also has its own spotlight making the mural walk an enjoyable evening stroll and tourist attraction.  In addition to enjoying 45 attractive works of art, taking the mural wall tour serves as a multi-media history lesson on Paducah and NW Kentucky.



In 1938 the Ohio River froze solid completely across bringing barge traffic to a halt but providing a winter playground for Paducah residents and school children freed from school by the freezing weather.

Below are images of a few of the murals.    All mural images were taken by Mary Chappelle.



The thriving community


Paducah, the hub of river activity in the inland waterways, has been the center of the river industry for decades. As the 2000 painting season ended, the river section of the murals which span an entire city block, began to tell the story of life on the rivers. Several of the new murals are located directly in front of the River Center which includes the River Heritage Museum, the Center for Maritime Education, and Seamen’s Church Institute and include the Standing Watch View From the Pilot House, the Christening of the Eleanor, and the Visit of the Three “Queens” to Paducah. (The American Queen, the Delta Queen and the Mississippi Queen.)

Paducah is a city rich in its cultural heritage.  Although we saw only a portion of the art it has to offer, there was one final surprise in store for us.

Angel of Market Street

Angel of Market Street

We saw the ‘angel’ as we were parking in the downtown area.  Following a wonderful lunch, we returned to the rental car to find her still in place, posing in various positions.   This image was taken through the windshield of the car.

Next time you are within a six-hour drive of Paducah, it is definitely worth a detour through history.  Personally, I think it is wonderful at any time of year.






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