Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I would like to give a shout out to all the people I know who've ever lived in Paducah, Kentucky. Actually, my grandparents are the only people I know from P-town. But, since I've been there before (most memorably when I drove to (and from) Utah to Tennessee in one weekend to visit a boyfriend) and because I have now done a little research, I will give you some highlights.

Paducah is a city in McCracken (no joke) County, Kentucky at the confluence of the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers. The population was 26,307 at the 2000 census. On April 25, 1991, the American Quilter's Society located its Museum in downtown Paducah. Each spring, during the Dogwood season, quilt enthusiasts from all over the world flock to Paducah for the Society's annual event. The Quilt Show is one of city's largest events of the year and draws large revenue in tourism. Hotels for miles around the city fill up months in advance of the show.

During the American Civil War on September 6, 1861, forces under Union General Ulysses S. Grant captured Paducah, which gave the Union control of the mouth of the Tennessee River. Throughout most of the war, US Colonel Stephen G. Hicks was in charge of Paducah and massive Union supply depots and dock facilities for the gunboats and supply ships that supported Federal forces along the Ohio, Mississippi and Tennessee River systems.

On March 25, 1864, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest (Forrest Gump's great, great...-grandfather) raided Paducah as part of his campaign Northward from Mississippi into Western Tennessee and Kentucky to re-supply the Confederate forces in the region with recruits, ammunition, medical supplies, horses and mules and to generally upset the Union domination of the regions south of the Ohio river. The raid was successful in terms of the re-supply effort and in intimidating the Union, but Forrest returned south.

Later, Forrest, having read in the newspapers that 140 fine horses had escaped the raid, sent Brigadier General Abraham Buford back to Paducah, to get the horses and to keep Union forces busy there while he attacked Fort Pillow.

On April 14, 1864 Buford's men found the horses hidden in a foundry as the newspapers reported. Buford rejoined Forrest with the spoils, leaving the Union in control of Paducah until the end of the War.

AND, in 1937, the Ohio River at Paducah rose above its 50-foot flood stage on January 21, cresting at 60.8 feet on February 2 and receding again to 50-feet on February 15. For nearly three weeks, 27,000 residents were forced to flee to stay with friends and relatives in higher ground in McCracken (it's seriously not a joke - I looked it up) County or in other counties.

I feel confident it should be in that book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. "Grab your quilting frames, kids, we're off to Paducah!"



Chris Hayes said...

We're not looking forward to the Quilt Festival here in Paducah. We have a few one-way streets downtown here, and the quilters have a knack for going the wrong way down them. For several miles.

David said...

I bet the quilters are a wild bunch. Many people don't know this, but I'm something of a quilter myself. I like to get down and tie some knots every once in a while.

Selene said...
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