Lower Town Historical & Architectural Tour
Use the interactive map to plan your visit to Lower Town.
Take your tour on the go with a printable map.
Lower Town is one of Paducah's oldest residential neighborhoods. From its 1836 annexation to the outbreak of the Civil War, Lower Town was a prosperous neighborhood where leading citizens built brick and frame houses in the Greek Revival and Italianate styles. When Union soldiers occupied Paducah, they built an earthenwork fort, Fort Anderson, at the northeast corner of the neighborhood overlooking the Ohio River. During the Battle of Paducah, the commander of the Union fort ordered that all two-story residences with "musket range" of Fort Anderson be burned. Over 60 residences in Lower Town were lost.
In the decades following the war, Lower Town remained a prominent neighborhood as impressive homes continued to be built in the Italianate, Gothic Revival, Romanesque, Queen Anne, and Classical Revival styles. Lower Town was the home of mayors of Paducah, bank presidents, factory owners, prominent lawyers and physicians - even Paducah's first millionaire. As part of Paducah's commercial growth, many large brick warehouse buildings were built along the railway line that formed Lower Town's western boundary. In the early 1900s, several large apartment houses were built in the neighborhood as apartment living became a popular lifestyle. Many of the Queen Anne & Italianate houses were divided into apartments. Everyday needs were met by the several corner drug stores and groceries in the neighborhood. One of the first service stations in Paducah was erected at Seventh & Madison.
In 1980, the Lower Town Neighborhood Association was organized to encourage preservation and restoration efforts in the area. In 1982, the neighborhood was recognized by the federal government for its historical and architectural significance and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The City of Paducah has designated the neighborhood as a historic district with protective zoning. After the turn of the twenty-first century, the Lower Town Artist Relocation Program dramatically revitalized Lower Town structures and brought a unique vibrancy to the area. The program was also a major factor in the development of the Paducah School of Art & Design campus under West Kentucky Community & Technical College.
Visit the Texaco Station Information Center to discover more about art galleries, retail shopping, and dining within the neighborhood.