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fieldmarshaldj

Where Is Wilmington ?

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Dovetailing a bit with my post in the TN forum, I was looking through my copy of Kentucky's Courthouses and came to McCracken County where it mentioned that the first county seat was the town of Wilmington. It served as the county seat from 1825-1831 and completed its courthouse only a year before the seat was moved to Paducah in 1831.

Now, my question is, where the heck is Wilmington located, and is there anything left of the old town and courthouse (I'm doubting it survived, but surely there must be some old square or something to mark it). My research online has turned up virtually nada and I can't quite pinpoint it by other means. It obviously long ago disincorporated. Anyone have any additional info on the old town ?

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Here you go! Information from the Kentucky Historical Society (Agency of the Education, Arts, & Humanities Cabinet) of what the Wilmington Marker reads and is located (last entry):

http://kentucky.gov/kyhs/hmdb/MarkerSearch...ounty&county=73

Basically it states that the Wilmington was located off KY 359 between the Gaseous Diffusion Plant/Atomic Energy Plant (USEC) and Paducah. The marker for the old county seat is on KY 358, but the site was about a half mile south of that location. It only had 8 buildings during its existence and the county seat had to be moved do to flooding in the area.

Nothing remains of Wilmington as far as I know. Perhaps next time I go to Paducah, in a week or two, I will venture over there and snap a pic of the marker and of the area.

You can learn alot more about the Paducah and McCracken county off that website for anyone interested.

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^Heh, that was a pretty tiny town, but not unusual for that period out "on the frontier." Thanks, I was able to spot that area on the map. The KY historical markers website is also very informative, too. If you're also going over to that area, one other nearby town I'm interested in is Blandville in neighboring Ballard County. That was Ballard County's first county seat for 40 years (1842-82) and still exists as a tiny incorporated town of 99 people as of 2000 (although I noticed it wasn't on the recent Census Bureau estimates, so I'm wondering if it has been disincorporated in the past 6 years). I know the courthouse burned down in 1880, but I'm wondering similarly what exists at the old square (besides the historic marker) and if there are any other historic buildings or homes still there. If you have the time to get some snapshots over there, I'd appreciate it ! :thumbsup:

P.S. It sure is quiet over here in the KY forum ! :lol:

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I've drove Blandville Rd. about a zillion times, but couldn't tell ya where Blandville is!! Not from that area, but there are several little stores and road junctions that come to mind as possibles. RK, do you know where this is?

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^ Yep. Its just north of the junction of KY 121 and KY 802, on KY 802. Blandville Road once outside of Paducah appears to become a series of different roads that would seem to me to be a very hard and confusing means of getting from Paducah to Blandville. Thats off what I can gleen from the internet. So that may be why you don't recall it.

The easiest way I see from Paducah would be to head west of US 60 to you got its junction with KY 802 at LaCenter. Then head south on 802 till you got to Blandville, which is mainly just that old court square from what I tell from the map.

I don't think I have ever been there or on KY 802. I am familar with both US 60 and KY 121 in Ballard County, but thats about it aside from US 51 which takes you through Wickliffe on to Cairo, IL. I am now interested in venturing over there though. :D

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I don't think I have ever been there or on KY 802. I am familar with both US 60 and KY 121 in Ballard County, but thats about it aside from US 51 which takes you through Wickliffe on to Cairo, IL. I am now interested in venturing over there though. :D

A few comments on those two other towns. I thought Wickliffe was a nice little town with an impressive County Courthouse, and also has the smallish, but interesting Wickliffe Mounds site. I haven't ventured over to the Illinois UP page, so I don't know how much has been mentioned of Cairo. I think it is truly a shame that a formerly great city (and it at one time was most definitely a city) has been allowed to fall down so far as Cairo has. Sitting astride the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, it ought to be one of the great tourist "destination points." It has a huge (and last time I went there) largely abandoned downtown area. It's just a tarnished old gem waiting to be rediscovered and revitalized. I wish someone would before most of it is lost. :(

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^ Wickliffe is a very nice little town, and your right it does have a very nice courthouse.

On Cairo: At some point in the future when I have time I will try to post my pics from Cairo I took this February. I have over 240 pics that document most of the city's abysmal state. It was such a great little urban center with so much potential, it just never materialized though for various economic and social reasons. The city is like a ghost town stuck in 1968; no fast food, no modern gas stations, not modern looking anything, just a dense old urban center with lots of history fading away year by year as the city decays with no hope for respite in sight.

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On Cairo: At some point in the future when I have time I will try to post my pics from Cairo I took this February. I have over 240 pics that document most of the city's abysmal state. It was such a great little urban center with so much potential, it just never materialized though for various economic and social reasons. The city is like a ghost town stuck in 1968; no fast food, no modern gas stations, not modern looking anything, just a dense old urban center with lots of history fading away year by year as the city decays with no hope for respite in sight.

Quite a few more pics than I took last time through there (1993). From the IL county governments website, http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departme.../alexander.html they have a photo of their more modernist courthouse (I don't know what happened to its predecessor, though the previous Alexander County Courthouse in Thebes still exists). The two trips we made through Cairo, we never could find it !

One story I heard from the Civil Rights Era was that the Mayor took to driving through town in a bulldozer during the worst of things.

Unfortunately, too, that Cairo's demographics make it tough to attract investment. A poor, decaying town with a 2/3rds Black population. Somewhat similar to other badly-declining river towns in the region, such as Pine Bluff, Arkansas and East Saint Louis, IL.

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Blandeville Rd is used as the 'short cut' to Missouri/STL - and Lambert's!!!! But anyway, it is still shorter and faster than 62. I agree that the Wickliffe courthouse is nice

Cario: Since I was a kid, we crossed the river at Cario to get to MO, but I had never been through the city until, say, 5 years ago. I was shocked because a) I didn't realize Cario (ever was) that big and b) what happened? How can a city that size be so abandoned. Here is a link with some info on Cario:

http://www.city-data.com/city/Cairo-Illinois.html

I can tell another rivertown story too: My sister-in-law's family is from Hayti, MO which is just north of Carouthersville (sp?) and accross from Dyersburg, TN. They tell me the town of <2,000 today was once a city of 40-50,000 when cotton was king. Today's modern machinery has reduced it to the town it is and it has the scars to prove it

I still wonder what happened to Cario...

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I can tell another rivertown story too: My sister-in-law's family is from Hayti, MO which is just north of Carouthersville (sp?) and accross from Dyersburg, TN. They tell me the town of <2,000 today was once a city of 40-50,000 when cotton was king. Today's modern machinery has reduced it to the town it is and it has the scars to prove it

I think they are mistaking the town of Hayti for the county for which it is in, Pemiscot. The town of Hayti's population zenith came in 1980 when it hit 3,964. The earliest population figure I found (for 1900) was all of 419 people, and registered consistent population growth for 80 years. Only since after 1980 has it lost population, losing nearly 1/4th from its zenith to 3,091 as of 2004.

Now, as for Pemiscot County, it has lost a dramatic amount of people from its zenith in 1940, when it had nearly 47,000 people, and began its slide afterwards to only about 19,500 as of 2005. Neighboring Mississippi County, Arkansas has lost a bit more in actual numbers (though not as a percentage-wise), dropping from 82,000 in 1950 to about 48,000 as of 2005.

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Interesting. I wonder, too, how many of these people where seasonal workers that were probably never counted in a census. I will say that, upon driving thru, it is obvious that the city was once many times the size of 3,964. Good info to know though, thx

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Interesting. I wonder, too, how many of these people where seasonal workers that were probably never counted in a census. I will say that, upon driving thru, it is obvious that the city was once many times the size of 3,964. Good info to know though, thx

Sometimes the actual population of a given town isn't necessarily an indication of how much is there, though in the case of Hayti & Caruthersville, both being business centers of a previously far more populous county, would likely have more than the town population would indicate (in comparison to other towns of similar size).

I remember visiting McDowell County in West Virginia (the southernmost county) in the early '90s. It had been a major mining county which peaked at just under 100,000 people in the early 1950s. It has since lost nearly 75% of its population to about 24,000 today (one of the most dramatic examples of depopulation in the country), but driving through the main street (U.S. 52, which follows along the rail-line), it is clearly urban (albeit largely abandoned). The county seat of Welch is lined with blocks of 5-6 story buildings, and despite only having about 2,400 people (down from a zenith of about 6,000), it looks like a decayed central city of a place that once had more like 50,000. Most people think you have to go out West to see a ghost town, but if you want to see one in the East, I recommend taking a drive through these mining counties in WV, it is remarkable what you'll see.

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Sometimes the actual population of a given town isn't necessarily an indication of how much is there, though in the case of Hayti & Caruthersville, both being business centers of a previously far more populous county, would likely have more than the town population would indicate (in comparison to other towns of similar size).

I remember visiting McDowell County in West Virginia (the southernmost county) in the early '90s. It had been a major mining county which peaked at just under 100,000 people in the early 1950s. It has since lost nearly 75% of its population to about 24,000 today (one of the most dramatic examples of depopulation in the country), but driving through the main street (U.S. 52, which follows along the rail-line), it is clearly urban (albeit largely abandoned). The county seat of Welch is lined with blocks of 5-6 story buildings, and despite only having about 2,400 people (down from a zenith of about 6,000), it looks like a decayed central city of a place that once had more like 50,000. Most people think you have to go out West to see a ghost town, but if you want to see one in the East, I recommend taking a drive through these mining counties in WV, it is remarkable what you'll see.

I will agree with everything said here. I've done my fair share of driving through the southwestern coal fields, seeing how coal has played out many of these towns. Driving from town to town (not even cities really) has made me realize just how fragile the economic system is in the United States. Many towns that used to be desireable places to live, such as Welch, Bluefield, Keystone, etc. are all horrible markers of the past.

The first time I was in the area several years ago, I was suprised at the size of Welch. We drove through what seemed like to be quite a sizeable town, but when I asked the guide (we were with an engineer touring the King Coal Highway project) how big the town actually was, he said "a little over 2000". He himself lived in a town outside of Welch which was equally dead and remembered the good times.

The only saving grace I see down there is not coal, but tourism. Coal provides short term benefits, in terms of jobs, providing wages in the $50,000/year realm, however, once the seam is played out, the job is gone. Lost. You must relocate or travel long distances to go to work. Costs? Just drive around the towns, take some back roads, and see for yourself. Acid mine drainage, mountaintops gone, entire valleys filled in, headwater streams lost, etc. I do a lot of photography for abandoned structures, and the amount of ... decay, pollution, etc. that is down there is horrific. I've never seen a place so ravaged by big business or by places that have no regard to the envrionment.

And the amount of coverup to make it sound 'not as bad as it really is' is horrible. These mountaintop sites have non-native vegetation, little reuse adaptability, etc. When I joined an envrionmental group and started publishing some of my photographs and becoming vocal, I received threats from several coal companies and thier miners, many from Massey who at the time we were protesting one of their operations.

Not people you want to mess with down there. But it makes my point that much more valid and my cause that much more great. If you want to see a part of America that has been screwed, go to southwest West Virginia.

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I will agree with everything said here. I've done my fair share of driving through the southwestern coal fields, seeing how coal has played out many of these towns. Driving from town to town (not even cities really) has made me realize just how fragile the economic system is in the United States. Many towns that used to be desireable places to live, such as Welch, Bluefield, Keystone, etc. are all horrible markers of the past.

The first time I was in the area several years ago, I was suprised at the size of Welch. We drove through what seemed like to be quite a sizeable town, but when I asked the guide (we were with an engineer touring the King Coal Highway project) how big the town actually was, he said "a little over 2000". He himself lived in a town outside of Welch which was equally dead and remembered the good times.

The only saving grace I see down there is not coal, but tourism. Coal provides short term benefits, in terms of jobs, providing wages in the $50,000/year realm, however, once the seam is played out, the job is gone. Lost. You must relocate or travel long distances to go to work. Costs? Just drive around the towns, take some back roads, and see for yourself. Acid mine drainage, mountaintops gone, entire valleys filled in, headwater streams lost, etc. I do a lot of photography for abandoned structures, and the amount of ... decay, pollution, etc. that is down there is horrific. I've never seen a place so ravaged by big business or by places that have no regard to the envrionment.

And the amount of coverup to make it sound 'not as bad as it really is' is horrible. These mountaintop sites have non-native vegetation, little reuse adaptability, etc. When I joined an envrionmental group and started publishing some of my photographs and becoming vocal, I received threats from several coal companies and thier miners, many from Massey who at the time we were protesting one of their operations.

Not people you want to mess with down there. But it makes my point that much more valid and my cause that much more great. If you want to see a part of America that has been screwed, go to southwest West Virginia.

Wow I agree with everything as I have been through some of these areas and have some pretty good knowledge on welch. Alot of these places were very much populated in the 50's. The owners of the mines pretty much ruined most of these towns. It would be nice if someone could post some pictures of these places.

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Wow I agree with everything as I have been through some of these areas and have some pretty good knowledge on welch. Alot of these places were very much populated in the 50's. The owners of the mines pretty much ruined most of these towns. It would be nice if someone could post some pictures of these places.

Despite the current situation of these places, I still see a lot of potential. Tourism, as was cited, the natural scenery, historic buildings, the railroad. These could all very well become much like the old mining towns out west that have diversified after bad times. I know former WV Gov. Cecil Underwood, who was Governor 40 years apart (1957-61; 1997-2001), when the area was at its zenith, and when it was at its worst, and he had high hopes for the region (his idea was using the internet and modern technologies to redevelop the region). I'd think, too, that these would be potentially nice areas to retire to, if developed properly. Unfortunately, as was cited, the problems with the mine owners, and unmentioned, the chronic political/union corruption of the area that has been present since the UMW came in (these were the counties where JFK's people helped steal the election from Sen. Hubert Humphrey in the 1960 Democrat Presidential Primaries).

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Despite the current situation of these places, I still see a lot of potential. Tourism, as was cited, the natural scenery, historic buildings, the railroad. These could all very well become much like the old mining towns out west that have diversified after bad times.

Unfortunately, many buildings cannot be saved and are awaiting demoltiion or extensive restoration which is highly unlikely in many smaller towns due to the costs. Flooding of 2001 and 2002, exaggerated by poor vegetation on many mountain slopes, increased runoff from mountaintop removal sites, and the disappearance of headwater streams, condemned many downtown buildings throughout the region from Keystone to Welch.

Gilbert is one saving grace in that whole area. It is near Twisted Gun Gap Golf Course which acts as a signature market with what Massey Energy wants to do to more of its mountain top removal sites - except its one of a very few that have any sort of development. Most are restored with non-native vegetation and little restored slope.

But I don't know 50 years in the future. Look at New River Gorge, it was once a desolate wasteland devoid of trees 70 years ago due to the coke ovens. Perhaps time will tell for the southwest part of the state - as I would like to see more of it be designated as a national forest and parts, such as long the Guyandotte, protected.

I know former WV Gov. Cecil Underwood, who was Governor 40 years apart (1957-61; 1997-2001), when the area was at its zenith, and when it was at its worst, and he had high hopes for the region (his idea was using the internet and modern technologies to redevelop the region). I'd think, too, that these would be potentially nice areas to retire to, if developed properly. Unfortunately, as was cited, the problems with the mine owners, and unmentioned, the chronic political/union corruption of the area that has been present since the UMW came in (these were the counties where JFK's people helped steal the election from Sen. Hubert Humphrey in the 1960 Democrat Presidential Primaries).

Agreed, and the continued corruption that plagues that whole entire region drives many more away. It's not just jobs, but the state of the area in general. There are many nice houses down there, but the image of the area is next to the toilet due to ineffective planning and irresponsible industry. Instead of seeing bountiful forests and wild streams (which the Guyandotte resembles) that are similar to New River, you more often notice the negativities such as the ineffectiveness of the government, the coal mining companies, and their ruthless tactics.

The McCoy-Hatfield Trails is one example of what can be done with cooperation. Entire towns run out of gas at their stations during peak seasons because of the amount of ATV's. While not exactly my first choice of what to do with these mountaintop lands (ATV's pollute a lot), it is better than nothing and still gives people like me, who mountain bike, an opportunity to get on some real trails in a somewhat natural envrionment.

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