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Archive for the tag “murals”

Paducah, Kentucky’s Murals and Townscapes

September 30, 2020

Paducah, Kentucky is a small city situated on the south bank of the Ohio River at its junction with the Tennessee River, which comes up from the south.

The Paducah waterfront looking northeastward up the Ohio River with the Tennessee River joining it

Paducah is an old city in terms of the American west, founded in 1827 by William Clark of Lewis & Clark fame with a purchase of 37,000 acres of land for the sum of $5. A historical sign downtown explains the circumstances.

Colonel George Rogers Clark had claimed the land as a warrant for his army service during the Revolutionary War, in which he effectively gained the entire Northwest Territory for the new United States of America.

Much of Paducah’s history is recounted by murals painted on the town’s Ohio River floodwall. A walk along the wall is a walk through history.

Kincaid Mounds near Paducah, around 1300 A.D.
Chickasaw tribesmen along the Ohio River in the early 19th Century. The Lewis & Clark flotilla is shown passing by on their way downstream to the Mississippi.

The name “Paducah” was given by William Clark. Some say Clark named the town for the “Padoucas”, a Great Plains tribe he encountered in his travels to the Pacific with the Corps of Discovery. Others say Clark named the town for Chief Paducah, leader of a nearby Chickasaw band.

Scenes of early white settlement in Paducah
Steamboats docked at Paducah

The town was a major prize in the early days of the Civil War. In 1861 while Kentucky was trying to remain neutral in the impending conflict, General Ulysses Grant took Paducah on September 6 before his Confederate counterpart could do so. Later in the war, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest conducted a successful raid on the city.

The Battle of Paducah, 1864
Paducah, Kentucky in 1873
Paducah in the early 1900s
Paducah Townscape in the 1930s
Paducah as the “Atomic City”. Home to the nation’s only uranium enrichment facility.

The Ohio landing areas near the riverfront provide an insight into late 19th Century Paducah. The area abounds in old brick merchant buildings now used as restaurants, bars, and antique shops.

Downtown Paducah
19th Century brick buildings in Paducah, Kentucky
Tree-lined merchant shops converted to restaurants
Paducah, Kentucky. Red brick streets downtown

The McCracken County Courthouse occupies an entire city block seven blocks away from the river. This two-story red brick structure was built between 1940 and 1943 under the auspices of the WPA.

McCracken County Courthouse
McCracken County Courthouse. Paducah, Kentucky
McCracken County in the state of Kentucky

Here’s a final floodwall mural of some of the most prominent old buildings in Paducah. Most of them are churches.

The churches of Paducah, Kentucky

All photos were taken by the author on September 3, 2019.

A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.

I travel as a hobby and not for a living (yet) — but donations are happily accepted if you’d like to help defer my costs.
Thanks,
The TimMan

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Taos

January 31, 2020

Taos — such a unique name that no further qualifiers are needed. Just remember to put the “a” before the “o” and everyone knows the place.

Street mural. Taos, New Mexico

Let’s start the Taos tour at the home of its most famous resident — noted Western pathfinder Kit Carson.

Kit Carson home and museum. Taos, New Mexico
Looking east from the center of Taos along US 64, towards the mountain divide

Born in Kentucky in 1809, Kit Carson grew up in Missouri on land once owned by the sons of Daniel Boone. As a teenager, he left the farm and shop life and set off westward on the Santa Fe Trail. Using Taos as his base, Carson built his reputation as a scout and a mountain man over the next decade. Later, in the 1840s, Carson served as the chief scout on John C. Fremont’s western expeditions and served with General Stephen Watts Kearny during the Mexican War. Carson died in 1868 as a brevet brigadier general at nearby Fort Garland, Colorado. (more on Kit Carson’s life here.)

Kit Carson Historic District. Taos, New Mexico

Nearly catercorner from the Kit Carson house, Taos Plaza is the marketplace of old Taos.

Taos Plaza
Padre Antonio Jose Martinez, and the Hotel La Fonda de Taos. Taos Plaza
War memorial in Taos Plaza
Shops in Taos Plaza. Notice the wooden ladder giving access to the roof.

Taos Plaza is like most town squares around America, except with a Hispano flair. Here one can find shops, cafes, park benches, statues and memorials, and even a hotel. You can also find posters and advertisements for local events. One such event was advertised by the photo below: “Full Moon Gong Journey” as presented by Shree Yoga. Vibrational Sound for the Whole Being. Only $15. Yes, Taos was “New Age” long before there was anything like “wokeness.” (Sorry about the quality of the photograph. My I-phone did the best it could to remove my reflection.)

While in town, I had drinks and dinner at the Taos Inn (photo below). A flamenco guitarist entertained and sang to the bar crowd in Spanish. I didn’t understand a word. His audience consisted of artists and tourists along with the odd skier.

Looking north from Taos Plaza. The famous Taos Inn is in the background.

In bygone days the Taos County Courthouse was adjacent to the plaza, but a new facility was built a half-mile away in 1979. The old structure still stands and holds some fascinating wall murals. Murals include both English and Spanish titles, reflecting the many centuries of Spanish influence in Taos:

Moses the Lawgiver. Old Taos courthouse.

Some of the murals are remarkably prescient. Note how it was understood that laws must be moderate to be effective and just:

Superfluous Laws Oppress
Sufficient Laws Protect

Here are two more murals before we move on:

Justice Begets Content (contentment)
Avarice Breeds Crime

Nearly all the buildings in Taos (if not ALL the buildings) are constructed in the adobe style — even the new courthouse.

Modern Taos County Courthouse. Taos, New Mexico
Taos County in the state of New Mexico

Of course, Taos was occupied long before Spanish conquistador Capitan Hernan Alvarado arrived here in 1540. It’s estimated that the Tiwa Indians settled here sometime around 1350 A.D. The name “Taos” is believed to be an adaptation of the Indian word Towih, meaning “red willows.”

Just north of Taos at Taos Pueblo, descendants of the ancient ones live much as they used to.

The most prominent structure is this multi-story, multi-family adobe complex, said to have been built between 1000 and 1450 A.D.

Taos Pueblo

Notice the external wooden ladders used to navigate between floors. Exterior doors are painted bright red, green, or blue for contrast against the adobe brown.

Taos Pueblo

Spanish missionaries left their mark among the native peoples, and their influence has become permanent.

St. Jerome Church. Taos Pueblo
Old graveyard. Taos Pueblo

All photos were taken by the author in January 2007 or January 2010.

A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.

Donations are happily accepted if you’d like to help defer my costs.
Thanks,
Tim

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