Traveling down US 68/KY 80 from Bowling Green to Hopkinsville, first-timers may rub their eyes a bit when a giant obelisk that looks like the Washington Monument peaks over the trees in the horizon. Double-takes are certain for those who have never been through this part of southern Kentucky and have not seen the Jefferson Davis Monument.
It’s not every day one gets to see the inner-workings of a large hydroelectric plant inside a huge dam. The opportunity presented itself to us not too long ago – we got to partake in a private tour of the powerhouse at Kentucky Dam.
The United States Geological Survey has a great online mapping feature that is quite addicting and can suck you in for a while.
A monument of Paducah’s extensive railroad history is located downtown at the riverfront wall. This locomotive, a 1923 Mikado, along with a baggage-mail car and a caboose, is a reminder of our country’s dependence on railroads throughout history.
Cars, semi-trucks and highways didn’t exist in the 19th century. Folks and freight moved across the country largely on trains. Paducah became a transportation hub in the early 20th century with the intersection of two large rail lines – the Illinois Central Railroad and the Nashville, St. Louis and Louisville Railroad. A large railroad shop, which still exists today on Kentucky Avenue, was built in 1929, further solidifying Paducah as a railroad hub.
The shop refurbished this Mikado 2-8-2 in 1940 and again in 1951 before being donated to the City of Paducah in the mid-1960s.
While the railroad industry has declined substantially in the United States, it continues to play a significant role to the economy in Paducah. If you want to go see it for yourself, head to downtown Paducah’s riverfront area. You can’t miss it.
If you want to read more about the railroad history of Paducah, check out this link.
Geocaching is an activity where you locate a geocache using Global Positioning System or GPS. A geocache is typically a small container hidden on public grounds that contain small trinkets and a log book. Handheld GPS units or your smartphone can guide you to geocaches.
Maplewood Cemetery in Mayfield, Ky. has many unusually large and ornate burial tombs. The most prominent memorial display in the cemetery is the Wooldridge Monuments. The curious set of 18 statues are known as “the strange procession which never moves.”
If you are looking for a great day-trip to make with kids, look no further than the Discovery Park of America. Located on 50 acres in Union City, Tenn., this state-of-the-art facility can easily entertain children and adults alike.
There is literally something for everyone! The main building hosts ten exciting educational exhibits. There is a hands-on area for small children to explore as well as a 48-foot human sculpture with a slide inside.
History buffs in the family will love the military exhibits that feature airplanes and ground vehicles from military history as well as the regional and national history exhibits in the museum.
Prior to the 1920s highway bridges crossing large rivers were almost non-existent in rural America. The reason for this is most highways, as we know them, simply didn’t exist. And the reason for that is not many people in rural America had cars.
You’ve heard of far western Kentucky. It is the section of the state between the Mississippi River and the Tennessee River. However, this part of the state did not become under definitive US control in 1792 when formed. In 1818, Andrew Jackson officially purchased the disputed land from the Chickasaw Indians. The Kentucky part of the sale became known as the Jackson Purchase.