Wednesday, January 9, 2008

PADUCAH'S ARTIST RELOCATION PROGRAM-2 A day in Paducah

After a leisurely breakfast at the B&B we met Mark Barone who preceded to give us the “tour” and the soft sell, or was it a hard sell? Mark is an artist who lived in Lowertown and was the driving force behind the relocation program. At this point I don’t remember the order in which the day unfolded, but in its course we toured the lowertown neighborhood, and met the directors of the American Quilt Society Museum, the River Heritage Museum, the Yeiser Art Center, and the Market House Theater. We met the city planner, several city commissioners, and had lunch with the mayor. It was their energy and enthusiasm for the program and the city that impressed me more than anything else.

As far as Lowertown was concerned, well, I really was not that impressed. The neighborhood of approximately 24 square blocks is listed on the national registry of historic places and consisted of a very eclectic mixture of homes, apartment buildings and abandoned store fronts. There were pockets of well maintained lovely victorian homes and cottages, but these were outnumbered by derelict structures in need of severe attention, as well as some forlorn buildings that begged to be demolished. To call them “fixer uppers” was a real stretch. Their greatest appeal was their affordability. Rehab cost was another matter.

As usual, my wife was right, and even though I wouldn’t acknowledge it to myself, and we would return soon for a closer look, there was a place within me that had already made the decision. It doesn’t surprise me since this is the way in which I have made so many of the major decisions in my life.

We returned to Paducah two months later and found our “dream home”, hoping we could buy it before it was demolished.


803 Madison St. Our dream home!


Me and 803


Demolition order on 803

When P’s friends, who were already upset at my taking her so far away from them, saw these pictures they threatened to take out a contract on me


The back yard at 803


Interior of what would become our dining room and kitchen.

I will have more to say about Paducah, our new home, and the artists that would soon be joining us in future posts.

2 comments:

Villager said...

You have got me hooked on this narrative. I bet the neighborhood looks a lot better today...just a guess.

timeisoftheessence said...

I remember when it was a beauty shop! Every PROM weekend all of the girls would walk out with the same hair style. Was so much fun to sit on the porch and see each of them walking out. I could tell some stories about the houses that most of you live in! HEEHEE!