There is a Paducah, Texas which was named after Paducah, Kentucky and is the only other American city to share its name.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.5 square miles (50.5 km²), of which, 19.5 square miles (50.5 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.10%) is water.
Paducah is the largest city in the Jackson Purchase Region of Western Kentucky. It is one of two cities named Paducah located in the United States. The other Paducah is in the state of Texas, near the panhandle, and was named after Paducah, Kentucky
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According to legend, Chief Paduke, most likely a Chickasaw, welcomed the 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 economy.
This cultural interaction continued until William Clark, famed leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, arrived in 1827 with a title deed to the land upon which Pekin sat. Clark was the superintendent of Indian affairs for the Mississippi-Missouri River region. He asked the Chief and the settlers to move along, which they did, offering little resistance probably because the deed was issued by the United States Supreme Court. Though the deed cost only $5.00 to process, it carried with it the full authority of the U. S. Government backed by the United States Army.
Clark surveyed his new property and laid out 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 allowed to purchase tracts within the new grid but most of them moved on to less developed areas.
Paducah was incorporated as a town in 1830, and because of the dynamics of the waterways, it 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 nucleus 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, Paducah also became an important railway hub for the Illinois Central Railroad, the primary north-south railway connecting Chicago and East St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico at Gulfport, Mississippi. The IC system also provided east-west links to Burlington Northern Railroad and Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway lines (which later merged to become the BNSF Railway).
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, dispatched a telegram to President Lincoln, and met with him, eventually succeeding in getting the order revoked.
On March 25, 1864, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest 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.
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 against 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.
On April 25, 1991, the American Quilter's Society located its Museum - MAQS 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 Paducah'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.
The museum was honored in May 2008 when the congressional designation as The National Quilt Museum of the United States was bestowed. May Louise Zumwalt, Executive Director of the Museum, said recently “Though it does not mean we will receive national funding, it does recognize that we are a quilt museum with national significance.” This designation brings additional attention and helps increase the number of visitors. The Museum currently averages 40,000 visitors per year from across the country and at least 25 foreign countries.
Lower Town, home of the Artist Relocation Program, is the oldest neighborhood in Paducah. As retail commerce moved toward the outskirts of town, efforts were made to preserve the architectural stylings, restoring the historic Victorian structures in the older parts of the city. The program helped that effort and became a catalyst for revitalizing the Downtown area. The Luthor F. Carson Center for the Performing Arts was also constructed.
In September 2004 plans jelled to highlight Paducah's musical roots through the redevelopment of the South side of Downtown. The centerpiece of the effort is the renovation of Maggie Steed's Hotel Metropolitan , where legends such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Chick Webb's orchestra, B.B. King, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Ike and Tina Turner and other R & B and Blues legends polished their craft along what has become known as the Chitlin' circuit. Using this genre as a foundation, supporters hope to advertise Paducah's role in the history of American music.
The local community boasts a great "underground" musical environment, with acts finding some success due to the recent promotion of musical growth in the city with the new Middletown project. Notable groups include The Wish You Weres, who have toured internationally and whose album Left 4 Dead was featured as one of the top 10 punk albums of the year by Rolling Stone Magazine. The town has recently began redeveloping its Middletown section as a hotspot for musical growth. The plan is very similar to its very successful Lowertown Artist District. The focal point of Middletown will be the Metropolitan Hotel, where many blues and jazz musicians played during the mid-20th century.
The town celebrates its local musicians many times in the year, but most notably during its annual Summer Festival and the Rock The Vote-sponsored Paducahpalooza festival.
There were 11,825 households out of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 16.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.8% were non-families. 39.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 83.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,137, and the median income for a family was $34,092. Males had a median income of $32,783 versus $21,901 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,417. About 18.0% of families and 22.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.8% of those under age 18 and 16.8% of those age 65 or over.