Historic Downtown Paducah
Paducah’s attractive downtown is a key part of the allure for visitors from around the region. Not only will you find distinctive buildings, lively streets, and architecture of historical significance, but also memorable shopping and dining experiences from locally-owned retail businesses, that display their specialty goods proudly, to fine dining restaurants serving fresh, local food and wines. Overlooking the banks of the Ohio River, Paducah is a town proud of its river heritage, cultural diversity and full embrace of the arts. Downtown Paducah offers a wide variety of venues for arts and history, such as the nationally recognized Market House Theater, Yeiser Art Center, the Carson Center, Paducah Symphony Orchestra, the 'PAPA' Gallery, The River Discovery Center and the National Quilt Museum.
Our downtown also offers examples of many architectural treasures reminiscent of the local and national design trends that affected Paducah’s built environment.
The Columbia Theatre constructed in 1927 is one of Paducah’s unique gems on Broadway. As stated in the Columbia Theatre Concept Study, “Theatres such as the Columbia speak to the spirit of a place, helping tell the unique story of Paducah and its inhabitants. Generations of patrons hold these cherished memories close to their hearts and are willing to make great efforts to assure that the physical touchstone to these memories, the theatre itself, is not lost.”
Paducah’s theatre proudly displays architectural elements from the Adamesque or “Style of the Brothers Adam” a style made popular the three Adam brothers (primarily Robert and James) of Scotland in the 1760’s and the “Skouras Style”, made popular by the three Skouras brothers (primarily Charles) of Greece in the 1940’s and 1950’s. An eclectic approach to design that used elements of baroque, art deco, and Spanish Colonial styles to create a lavish contrast to the modernization of theatres that was becoming popular at the time. The Columbia theatre is one of few theatres in the country that have the combination of these two styles extant. The Columbia Club, non-profit owner of the theatre, is actively beginning the rehabilitation of the theatre to a new vital function and contributing member of the community. For more information please go to http://www.facebook.com//ColumbiaTheatrePaducah.
The Hotel Irvin Cobb located 600 Broadway was completed in 1929 and was at the core of the city’s social and civic life for more than three decades. Named for the internationally known writer, journalist and humorist Irvin Cobb. The dominant structure boasts eight-stories high designed in the extravagant Tudor Revival Style. Praised by Irvin Cobb on opening day, “From lobby to roof garden, there is no hotel on this continent nor in this world more exquisitely designed.”
Church of St. Francis De Sales located at 116 South Sixth Street was constructed in 1889. It is distinctive among the religious building of Paducah and a prominent icon of historic Downtown.
The Historic Market House located in the center of South Second Street was built in 1905 by local builder George Katterjohn and designed by local architect, W.L. Brainerd. It was always a thriving part of the community with produce vendors and merchants selling their goods up until the 1960s. It currently has become a cultural center with an art gallery, museum, and theater. On either side of the market house are some of Paducah’s distinctive merchants and restaurants creating an inviting and relaxing atmosphere for visitors to linger.
The River Discovery Center is housed in a federal-style building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is the oldest in downtown Paducah dating pre-Civil War and was completely restored in 2000. The beautifully furnished upstairs overlooks the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers and is restored to a Victorian era look. Downstairs houses the museum which teaches the public about the importance of our inland waterways as Paducah is considered the hub with most major towing companies based here. Through interactive exhibits, including a state-of-the-art boat simulator enjoyed by both children and adults, the Center educates in an entertaining engaging way. The Center is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30a-5pm (Sundays 1-5 April through November). (270) 575-9958 www.riverdiscoverycenter.org