Member Spotlight Archive

Paducah, Kentucky

Named in Honor of a Native American Chief
Published August 2010

The City of Paducah, Kentucky is the largest city in Kentucky’s Jackson Purchase region. It is bounded by the Mississippi River to the west, the Ohio River to the north, and Tennessee River to the east. It is also the county seat of McCracken County.

Originally called Pekin, Paducah was settled in 1815 by a mixed community of Native Americans and Europeans attracted to its location at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. The two communities lived in harmony trading goods and services until the arrival in 1827 of William Clark, famed leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark presented a title deed to the land upon which Pekin sat. As the superintendent of Native American affairs for the region, Clark asked Chief Paduke and the settlers to move. Clark surveyed the property and laid out the grid for the new city which he named Paducah in honor of the Chief.

Paducah was incorporated as a town in 1830 and as a city in 1856. It offered valuable port facilities for steam boats and became the headquarters for many barge line companies. Paducah also became famous as one of only two cities to be named in the world-famous song “Hooray for Hollywood.”

The Paducah Power System began bringing public power to its citizens in 1961, when it switched operations from Kentucky Utilities. A fight to acquire the company’s electric distribution properties began in 1943 and concluded in 1960, when citizens voted in favor of a bond issue. The Paducah Electric Plant Board was transferred the property in 1961. In 2005, The Electric Plant Board voted to invest in the Prairie State Energy Campus project and in 2008 Paducah became a member of AMP. Currently, Paducah serves over 20,000 meters.

View Paducah’s website