We drive by it all the time, but how many of us have stopped to take a look?
Found in the median of Jefferson Street around the 2900 block, the statue memorializing the 1937 Flood is not in a very convenient location for perusal. So if you’ve never taken a good look at the monument, and since this Monday (June 19, 2017) marks the 79th anniversary of its dedication, we thought we’d point out some of its features (even a hidden one).
The statue was unveiled and dedicated on June 19, 1938, about a year and a half after the great flood.
The inscription on the base reads “An expression of gratitude to all who gave aid during the flood of 1937.
The location of the monument marks the western extent of the water’s reach at the height of the flood on February 2, 1937.
The statue was commissioned and paid for by the Jaycees.
The eagle statue came from the top of the wall of the old post office (5th and Broadway) where it had resided for 55 years. The post office was razed following the 37 Flood, and when the citizenry found out that the eagle was to be demolished with the rest of the building, they banded together to make sure it was saved.
The eagle statue alone weights four tons (8000 pounds), and cost $2000 in 1882.
Hiding inside the base of the monument is a container which holds a clipping from the Sun-Democrat which tells of the razing of the post office and the history of the eagle, a photograph of the old post office, and the names of the Jaycees president and city officials.
Who was Paducah’s first muralist? Of course, we can’t ever really know for sure. There have likely been painters as long as there have been residents. But one of the earliest, and potentially the most famous in his time, was a man named John Banvard.