Explore McCracken County, Kentucky

Tour curated by: The ExploreKYHistory Team

McCraken County is located in the Jackson Purchase region of western Kentucky. The county seat is Paducah.

The home of a United States Vice President, a teacher who got into some "monkey business", and important Civil War action, McCracken County has a rich history waiting to be explored.

We hope this app helps you to better understand the social, political, and cultural contributions of McCracken County.

Locations for Tour

Historical Marker #517 in McCracken County recalls Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest's raid on Paducah in March 1864. The journey to Paducah from western Tennessee began in the spring of 1864. Forrest was intent on reaching Kentucky to…

Historical Marker #680 commemorates Alben W. Barley and his beloved estate, Angles, in McCracken County. Barkley was born on November 24, 1877, in a Graves County log cabin to tenant farmers John Wilson and Electra Eliza Barkley. In 1892, Barkley…

Historical Marker #1006 in McCracken County commemorates the Jackson Purchase. This land, which was secured in 1818, includes Kentucky's eight westernmost counties, including McCracken County. The purchase was primarily negotiated by two…

Historical Marker #1043 in McCracken County remembers Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman. Tilghman was born in Maryland on January 26, 1818. At age fifteen, he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated five years later.…

Historical Marker #1053 in McCracken County commemorates the devastating flood of 1937. This flood led to some 27,000 citizens to be evacuated and caused several million dollars' worth of damage. January 1937 opened with a two-week period…

Historical Marker #1134 in McCracken County celebrates the historic Illinois Central Railroad. Rail played a significant role in the growth and expansion of western Kentucky through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Paducah served as a…

Historical Marker #1698 in McCracken County commemorates John T. Scopes, who made national headlines as the defendant in the famous Tennessee "Monkey Trial." Scopes was born in Paducah, Kentucky, on August 3, 1900. After moving to…

Historical Marker #2361 in McCracken County notes the Civil War service of the 8th United States Colored Heavy Artillery. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln believed that Kentucky-a loyal, slaveholding border state-was critical to the…

Historical Marker #964 in Paducah highlights the service of Kentucky’s soldiers during the Mexican-American War. When war broke out with Mexico in 1846, Kentuckians enthusiastically responded to the call for troops. In an address to the state,…

Historical Marker #1065 in Paducah remembers the importance of the waterfront to this river city where the Tennessee River flows into the Ohio River. River towns are often established due to natural geographical distinctions. For example, cities…

Historical Marker #963 in Paducah marks the death of Confederate Colonel A. P. Thompson, who was killed while attacking his hometown. Born in Green County on March 3, 1829, Thompson was a Paducah lawyer who served as McCracken County's…

Historical Marker #1957 in Paducah commemorates the eighth day of August. African Americans in Paducah have traditionally observed this day in celebration of their ancestors' emancipation from slavery. Even before the guns fell silent at the…

Historical Marker #828 in Paducah notes the location of Fort Anderson, a Union earthen fortification named for native Kentuckian Robert Anderson, the "Hero of Fort Sumter." When Confederate forces invaded western Kentucky in early…

Historical Marker #2208 in Paducah commemorates Lewis and Clark's 1803 visit to the area that eventually became Paducah and McCracken County. The famous soldier and adventurer George Rogers Clark visited this part of the Ohio River Valley…

Historical Marker #1112 in Paducah marks the grave of Alben W. Barkley, who was vice president in President Harry S. Truman's administration. When giving a speech at a student convention in Virginia, Barkley famously stated, "I would…

Historical Marker #1105 in McCracken County marks the place where Kentucky politician Linn Boyd's home stood. Boyd, who moved to Paducah in 1852, built this brick home and called it Oaklands. Boyd was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on November…

Historic marker #2404 in McCracken County celebrates the history of the Woodland School, a Rosenwald School for African American children. Over two decades, Julius Rosenwald, philanthropist and CEO of Sears Roebuck, worked with Booker T.…