This week's assignment is given to us by Kate of Kansas City, Kansas.
"My topic is up to bat this week and I picked Skylines. One of my favorite things to see when I go to a new city is the look of their skyline - and for me, skylines can be the look of a small-town Main Street or the giant buildings of a huge city's downtown or a field full of corn. What is the "skyline" that you think of when someone mentions your town?"
Paducah is a small city in way Western Kentucky (and the W in Western is capitallized like the N is in North Carolina - like it's the destination, not an incedental direction). We're between Nashville and St. Louis; closer to each of those cities than to Lexington or Louisville. That far west. We sit on the spot where the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers join forces, about twenty minutes upstream from where they sacrifice their spirit and identities and their very souls to the Mighty Mississippi.
Because of all that, Paducah has always been a center. It is a town, my husband likes to point out, that lives larger than its size. River commerce thrives. (One barge can carry the load of 75 eighteen-wheelers.) Cultural activities are incredible here. We have a $44,000,000 Performing Arts Center, The Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, where I saw the stage production of To Kill A Mockingbird last night. (As a great part of The Big Read; Paducah is one of 269 communitites across the nation participating in this inspired program of the National Endowment for the Arts.)
The Carson Center for the Performing Arts
In addition to the TKaM performance last night Tom, Dick, and Harry was playing at Market House, the community theater, The River's Edge Film Festival began its fifth year at the fantastic independant movie theater, Maiden Alley Cinema, the actual Second City comedy troupe (you know, the one that spawned Alan Arkin, Belushi, Radnor, Murray, Aykroyd, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and a bazillion more) played at the college after an important art show by Michael Crouse. And that is just last night!
What does all this have to do with skylines, you rightly ask?
Paducah has had to survive the invasion of the Mall. Right out by the Interstate. It opened in 1982 and with the addition of two area Walmarts (gag, choke, spew, BOYCOT) historic downtown Paducah suffered the inevitable blight. Thanks to dedicated citizens, city leaders, and civic minded businesses this lovely old city thrives. Not with skyscrapers, but with charm and history and culture and spirit, with independant specialty stores and antiques shops and fine dining and friendships. I hope I've captured a little of that for you in these 'skyline' photos.