Whitehaven Welcome Center
In 1795, General George Rogers Clark, the famous hero of the American Revolutionary War, laid claim to the 37,000 acres at the mouth of the Tennessee River on the basis of a Virginia Treasury warrant. The same site was also claimed by the Porterfield family heirs on the basis of a Virginia Military warrant. This dispute delayed settlement and eventually went to U.S. Supreme Court. When General Clark died, his claim went to his younger brother William, of Lewis and Clark fame. The deed transfer was accomplished for a mere $5.
William Clark, in 1827, platted a town at this northernmost point of what is now the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway. Formerly the site of the village of Pekin, General Clark renamed this new town in honor of the Padouca Indians. In a letter to his son, Lewis, on April 27, 1827 he said, "I expect to go to the mouth of (the) Tennessee the 26th of next month and be absent about two weeks. I have laid out a town there and intend to sell some lots (in) it, the name is Pa-du-cah, once the largest Nation of Indians known in this Country, and now almost forgotten."
Local folklore speaks of the legendary Chief Paduke, a peaceful leader of a Chickasaw subtribe that hunted in this region. A statue of the Chief, sculpted by American artist Lorado Taft in 1909, presently stands on Jefferson boulevard at 19th Street. A twin of this statue is in a fountain in front of Union Station in Washington D.C. Paducah is the only major city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with an Indian name.
Incorporated in 1830, Paducah's early growth was due to its strategic location at the confluence of the mighty Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. Paducah Marine Ways, a barge manufacturer founded in 1854, was the town's oldest industry. The crucial river industry is Paducah's third largest employer.
Discover more of Paducah's history while strolling along brick sidewalks past turn-of-the-century buildings where historic markers line the streets. Explore the museums and galleries within and around Market House Square, or browse the variety of antique and specialty shops throughout the community. Dine in one-of-a-kind restaurants unique to this community. Study Paducah's rich history captured on floodwall murals painted by renowned artist, Robert Dafford. Discover for yourself the charm, southern hospitality, and unforgettable history of this great river city called Paducah.