History is reflected and preserved in the the architecture that helps to define this UNESCO Creative City. Historic neighborhoods, once filled with abandoned factories and vacated commercial properties, have been transformed into rich expressions of Paducah’s creative economy. Since the mid-1990s, the City of Paducah has implemented award-winning preservation strategies and formed innovative partnerships with Paducah Main Street, artists, commercial developers, retailers and restaurateurs to restore the historic fiber that makes this western Kentucky city attractive to visitors from all over the world.
These partnerships merge the arts and historic preservation with an innovative approach to commercial development and neighborhood revitalization. The city and its partners have helped to save buildings that, in some cases, date as far back as the 1870s, developing them into vital centers of commerce, boasting unique shops and locally-crafted breweries, distilleries and eateries.
The Paducah School of Art and Design anchors the creative spirit that flourishes in the Lower Town Arts District, a neighborhood inhabited by several international artists and a locally-owned brewery and brewpub. Paducah Beer Werks is a refurbished, mid-century modern bus station that now serves as an exciting social depot, showcasing local musicians, original menu items and locally-produced craft beer.
The spirit of entrepreneurship continues to wind its way from Paducah’s historic downtown and Lower Town neighborhoods, to Midtown, the scene for some of the city’s most creative commerce. New life has been breathed into a mid-century modern grocery store, which is now home to Midtown Market, a local grocer specializing in natural and organic produce and meats grown and raised by regional producers. Just up the road, is the historic and newly rehabilitated Coke Plant, which is a cultural attraction in its own right, serving as the home to an artisan shop, coffee shop, brewery, yoga studio and restaurant.
The preservation of Paducah’s past leads the way to the city’s bright and sustainable future.