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Paducah Flood Wall Murals
Paducah, Kentucky

Paducah is about halfway between St. Louis, Missouri and Nashville, Tennessee.  The murals are on the Ohio River floodwall.

Paducah, KY, flood wall murals - view along murals

The "Wall to Wall" murals are by muralist Robert Dafford.  The murals have been painted over 11 years by Robert Dafford and a team of artists who work with him.

Paducah, KY, flood wall murals - steamboat

This mural shows the 3 "queens" visiting Paducah.  The American Queen, the Delta Queen and the Mississippi Queen.

Paducah, KY, flood wall murals - steamboats on the Ohio river

The murals span several blocks and depict the history of Western Kentucky.  It's worth a visit just to see these beautiful murals, but Paducah has much more.  It is also the home of the Museum of the American Quilter's Society, the Paducah Railroad Museum, the River Heritage Museum and much more.

We liked downtown Paducah very much.  It's a small place but has a booming tourist trade with it's attractions.  It has an artist relocation program with subsidies for artists and it is obviously a small town with big ambitions.

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Adding to the story ... Readers comments:
Latest first

Jane :  I love the murals. They make me want to return to Paducah. As a matter of fact, I have taken family to Paducah just to see the murals. And, we are from Alabama.

GLB :  I REMEMBER WHEN I VISTED PADAUCH AND SAW THE FIRST MURAL - IT WAS AMAZING!! EVERY TRIP TO PADAUCH SINCE THEN HAS INCLUDED GOING TO THE FLOODWALL TO SEE WHAT HAS BEEN ADDED. HISTORY IN A PAINTING FOR ALL TO SEE AND ENJOY. SURLY I MISUNDERSTOOD THAT THE CITY IS THINKING OF TEARING IT DOWN. THAT IS SO STUPID!! I CAN NOT IMAGE WAY ANYONE COULD THINK THAT WOULD BENIFIT THE PEOPLE OF PADAUCH. NOT ONLY DOES IT PROTECT THE CITY BUT IT WOULD BE A WASTE OF THE MONEY SPENT TO HAVE IT PAINTED PLUS I KNOW THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO ENJOY THE MURALS AND VISIT THE AREA OFTEN AND SPEND MONEY WHILE THERE. I HOPE THEY CHANGE THEIR MINDS BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE SHAME TO DESTROY SOMETHING SO IMPORTANT.

Susan W. :  Whatever Paducah citizens need to do to keep the flood wall intact, they need to speak up and let their voices be heard. This is such a unique feature of the city. Growing up in Paducah and the surrounding area, the flood wall has always been fascinating and now even more so with the murals. Don't let the flood wall become another "Carnegie Library" disaster. I still haven't gotten over that even after all these years. I now live in Texas but come back to visit family & friends and this is something that I speak of quite often. I am proud of the city and the revitalization, but the flood wall needs to stay. P.S. I agree about the Trolleys...I remember them well even though I was very young. Also, is the old Columbia Theater ever going to be renovated?

B. McDowell :  The flood wall murals are such a beautiful addition to the down town area, I believe it would be quite a detriment to take them away. The artist is brilliant.

Allen Phelps :  The murals are well worth a look see; but why isn't there one showing the trollies that used to run in Paducah?

Susie :  I would love to know how Robert Dafford found the original pictures in which to paint these murals in Paducah. Were they from snapshots? In one of them is a pair of small children in the forefront of the painting. My brother and I thought it resembled us as toddlers. That has blown our mind! The murals are absolutely breathtaking...and deserve more time to sit and observe each detail. Thank you so much Robert Dafford for making Paducah a much better place...

BeeBee :  To LKR You were at Patti's in Grand Rivers, Kentucky

jane :  my husband and i visited Paducah on May 22 We loved our stay there and to see Paducah's rich history through the paintings on the flood walls and markers was interesting.Paducah's river front is a great asset, such a pretty city.

Jo :  As born and bred citizen of Paducah I am appalled that the Mayor and Commissioners are even entertaining the idea of taking down the floodwall. The murals are beautiful and costs thousands of dollars each to paint. They depict our history but more importantly the flood wall protect the businesses and homes of our residents. Right now our river is above flood stage and the potential for having to put the flood gates exists, why would the Mayor/Commissioners take a chance with our lives? Their own agendas? For years now the current govenment has taken upon themselves to give property away, take property from citizens, put demands on citizens that can't afford to make the required improvements and it has forced people to move or pay hefty fines. It's time for a change.

Joan :  I have been to Portsmouth, OH three times while Mr. DAfford was painting those seawall murals. They are beautiful. I'm going to Savannah also this next week and am looking forward to seeing the ones in Paducah. Are they hard to find?

ILUVPADUCAH :  If I could hear everyone's version of what happened during the flood, I'd be one lucky girl. I wish I could've been there, and lived to tell the tale. I trully think the Flood Wall deserves great respect from everyone, even if it kills them!It tells the story of what happened.

Rose Cooper :  Our city in KY is complempating something similar to the flood wall murals except we are not on the river and have no flood walls. How do you get in touch with the Artist Robert Dafford and his team? What preparation of the walls was necessary before starting the murals? Did the City do that first for the artist?

Joan :  I plan on stopping in Paducah to see the seawall while traveling through to Nashville and then on the Savannah in March. The 54 murals in Portsmouth, OH are by the same artist and are wonderful so am looking forward to Paducah. If you are in Southern Ohio near the river it is wonderful to stop in Portsmouth to see the murals on their seawall. Don't miss it.

rhilton :  The Paducah 'Wall to Wall' murals are a wonderful example of public art, as well as being educational and a memorial to Paducah's history. The artwork is exceptional and somewhat varied to add interest. We enjoyed it immenseley. Our hats are off to Robert Dafford and all those who have made downtown Paducah such a pleasant place to visit. It is surprisingly clean, green and very nice. On my next visit I hope to be able to see some of the old landmark churches that grace the town. We visited nearby Patti's 1880's Settlement too. It's a quaint and beautiful spot in Grand Rivers with an interesting origin.

l. haley randolph :  The paintings are so wonderful on flood wall-Paducah, Ky. Have heard city father wanting take down wall. Don't let that ever happen. Whats wrong with city father??

LKR :  Close to Paducah (I'm sorry I cannot recall the exact location but it is in the land-between-the-lakes area) we accidently stumbled upon the finest eatery called Patty's Place. It is a little pricey, but they had Pork Chops an inch thick, and homemade bread baked in clay flower pots. It is worth the trip for a family or special occasion (such as my mothers 91st birthday).

Sally and Mark :  We got lost and unintentionally ended up in a strangely named place called Paducah. The town is in the throes of super revitalization. Charming shops and restaurants, horse drawn carriages for touring and a fabulous waterfront park and parking and the most wonderful murals depicting its history. Paducah is exactly on the Ohio/Tennessee Rivers. Standing in Kentucky at this wonderful waterfront we could look across to Illinois. Paducah was the center of the tobacco trade. (We noticed tobacco farms and drying racks of tobacco on the way). In the early days they shipped thousands of barrels of the stuff, perhaps it has not changed. Also they shipped zillions of barrels of scallop shells where the insides were taken out to become “mother of pearl” and made into buttons. We ended-up in a bar/grill for dinner and had the best southern style meal of our trip – we actually ate fried green tomatoes!

 

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