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about Paducah

Paducah is a city located in McCracken County, Kentucky at the confluence of the Tennessee River and the Ohio River.. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 26,307. It is the county seat of McCracken County.

Paducah geography

Paducah is located at 37°4'20" North, 88°37'39" West (37.072226, -88.627436).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 50.5 km² (19.5 mi²). 50.5 km² (19.5 mi²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.04 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.10% water.

Paducah history

Paducah is an ideal case study in the historical progression mixing history, geography, economics, technology and culture into a continuing series of paradigm shifts:

The story of Pekin (Paducah)

Paducah originally called Pekin began around 1815 as a mixed community of Native Americans and European settlers who were attracted to the spot due to its unique geographic features in that it was nested at the confluence of many waterways.

According to legend, Chief Paduke, most likely a Chickasaw, welcomed the fair-skinned people traveling down the Ohio and Tennessee on flatboats. His wigwam, located on a low bluff at the mouth of Island Creek served as the counsel lodge for his village. The settlers, appreciative of his hospitality, and respectful of his ways, settled across the creek.

The two communities lived in harmony trading goods and services enjoying the novelty of each other's culture. The settlers had brought horses and mules which they used to pull the flatboats upstream to farms, logging camps, trading posts and other settlements along the waterways, establishing a primitive but thriving river basin economy.

This cultural interaction continued until William Clark, famed leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, arrived on the scene in 1827 with a title deed to the land upon which Pekin sat. He asked the Chief and the settlers to move along, which they did offering little resistance probably becouse the deed was issued by the United States Supreme Court. Though the title deed cost only $5.00 to process, it carried with it the full authority of the U. S. Government and was enforcable by the United States Army.

Clark surveyed his new property and plotted the grid for a new town which remains evident to this day. The Chief and his villagers moved to Mississippi allowing Clark to continue with the building of the new city which he named Paducah in Honor of the Chief. Upon completion of the platt, Clark sent envoys to Mississippi to invite Chief Paduke back to a ribbon-cutting ceremony but he died of malaria in the boat while making the return trip. The settlers had been graciously allowed to purchase tracts within the new grid but most of them moved on to less developed areas. Clark moved on to St Louis and became the superintendant in that day's version of the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the Missouri Territory.

Incorporation, Steamboats and Railroads

Paducah was incorporated as a Town in 1830 and because of the dynamics of the waterways, offered valuable port facilities for the steam boats that traversed the river system. A Factory for making red bricks, and a Foundry for making rail and locomotive components became the neucleus of a thriving River and Rail industrial economy.

After a period of nearly exponential growth, Paducah was chartered as a City in 1856. It became the site of dry dock facilities for steamboats and towboats and thus headquarters for many bargeline companies. Because of its proximity to coalfields further to the East in Kentucky and North in Illinois, Pacucah also became an Important railway hub for the Illinois Central Rail Road, the primary North-South railway link connecting Chicago, IL and East St. Louis, IL to the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile, Alabama. The ICRR system also provided East-West links to Burlington Northern and Santa Fe lines (which later merged to become BNSF).

Paducah in the Civil War

During the American Civil War on September 6, 1861 forces under Union General Ulysses S. Grant bloodlessly captured Paducah, which gave the Union control the mouth of the Tennessee River.

On December 17, 1862, under the terms of General Order No. 11, thirty Jewish families, longtime residents all, were forced from their homes. Cesar Kaskel, a prominent local Jewish businessman, dispached a telegram to President Lincoln, and met with him, eventually succeding in getting the order revoked.

The '37 Flood

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 higher ground to stay with friends and relatives or in shelters provided by the American Red Cross and local churches. Buildings in downtown Paducah still bear plaques that highlight the high water marks.

With 18 inches of rainfall in 16 days, along with sheets of swiftly moving ice the '37 flood was the worst natural disaster in Paducah's History. Because Paducah's earthen levee was ineffective againt this flood, the United States Army Corps of Engineers was commissioned to build the flood wall that now protects the city from the ravages of flooding.

The Atomic City

In 1948 the Atomic Energy Commission selected Paducah as the site for a new Uranium enrichment Plant.

The Quilt Capital of the World

On April 25, 1991, The American Quilter's Society located its Museum - MAQS in Downtown Paducah. It is the world's foremost museum devoted to quilts. Each spring, during the Dogwood season, quilt enthusiasts from all over the World flock to Paducah for the Society's annual event.

The Heath Shootings

On December 1, 1997, a 14-year old boy named Michael Carneal carried five loaded guns to Heath High School in West Paducah, an unincorporated community about 10 miles from the city. He shot at a group of fellow students as they were leaving a preschool prayer group in the school's courtyard. Three (all girls) were killed, and five others were wounded; one of the wounded was left a paraplegic. Five of the victims were shot in the head, and three were hit in the upper torso.

Steven Curtis Chapman, a 1981 Heath graduate, performed at the memorial service for the three slain girls.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Paducah, Kentucky".

This city is also known as: Paducah.

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