Paducah, Kentucky was recently selected for exceptional merit in the Prettiest Painted Places in America competition.

The Paint Quality Institute recognized twelve communities as Prettiest Painted Places with two from each geographic region in the United States. Nine additional “Exceptional Merit” winners, including Paducah, were “just too pretty to go without recognition,” according to Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert for the Paint Quality Institute. Paducah was selected alongside Old Louisville, Kentucky as an “Exceptional Merit” destination in the Southeast Region with Historic Downtown Smithfield, Virginia and Key West, Florida receiving top honors of the regional finalists.

The purpose of the Prettiest Painted Places competition is to recognize places that use paint to express pride in their communities. A panel of judges with expertise in paint and exterior color schemes reviewed image submissions for 200 colorful nominees and selected the winners.

“The truth is, we had so many worthy nominees that we could have presented many more awards,” said Zimmer.  “The field of entries in this year’s competition was truly exceptional, and selecting just a dozen winners and only nine exceptional merit communities was daunting.”

The twelve Prettiest Painted Places by region are as follows:
Northeast Region - Brookville, Pennsylvania and Downtown Frederick, Maryland
Southeast Region - Historic Downtown Smithfield, Virginia and Key West, Florida
North Central Region - Bay View Association, Michigan and Stillwater, Minnesota  
South Central Region - Old Arabi Neighborhood, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana and Lafayette Square, St. Louis, Missouri
Northwest Region - The Victorian Village of Ferndale, California and Eureka, California
Southwest Region - Tubac, Arizona and Manhattan Beach, California
In addition to Paducah and Old Louisville, Kentucky, “Exceptional Merit” communities are Cape May, New Jersey; Crested Butte, Colorado; Ottawa and Franklin County, Kansas; Owego Historic District, New York; Historic Park City, Utah; Richmond, Indiana; and Original Townsite Historic District, Victoria, Texas.    

To see photos of the 12 Prettiest Painted Places in America and the nine “Exceptional Merit” communities, visit the Paint Quality Institute website at

Paducah’s Prettiest Painted Places “Exceptional Merit” designation follows the city’s selection as the Fan Favorite of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations and one of the Most Romantic Main Streets in America in 2011.