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3 days to Paradise (quite a few pictures)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
When I was a child my family would travel
Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
And there's a backwards old town that's often remembered
So many times that my memories are worn.

And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away
When John Prine released this song in the 1970's, most people, including a lot of Kentuckians, thought that it was just an environmental song, and that Paradise was just a metaphor for all the land lost to strip mining in Kentucky. I found out a few years ago that Paradise had actually existed, and the entire town was destroyed in 1967. So, just on a whim, this years vacation was a canoe trip on the Green River, 111 miles...to look for Paradise.

The trip began at the boat ramp below "Dismal Rock" on the Nolin River. There is only 8 miles of the Nolin River left, the upper 70 miles of it have been dammed up to create Nolin Lake. The 8 miles below the dam to the conjucture with the Green River is very pretty, as 7 miles of it are inside the national park and have been allowed to go wild again...

So, we unloaded the canoe, stocked everything on board, told my BIL goodbye and that I'll call when I got to where ever I was going, and he could come pick me up....maybe

Taking a coffee break inside the cliff cuddy at "Cuddy Cove"....also my favorite camping spot...

Morning after the first nights camp on the banks of the Green River...

The Green, Nolin and Big Barren rivers used to be heavily commercialized, with a slack water navigation system of locks and dams that went into service 4 months before George Armstrong Custer was born, and stayed in service until 1967. Only the lower two locks still operate. The rest of the system has been left to decay, and the deserted ghosts of the rivers past are slowly being swallowed up by mother nature....

post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 
On the last leg of the journey, the wreckage of the lock and dam at Rochester, KY

And here is Paradise today..the quaint little town is long gone, replaced by an enormous coal fired electricity generating plant, the largest in the world when it was built in 1968-70. It was supposed to run forever using the coal fields around it....however, the coal had run out by 1989, and coal is having to be shipped upriver to it, which is the only reason that the lower two locks are still used.

Far up on a hillside, overlooking this technological monster, I saw a little grove of old trees, very rare in this area, so I walked up there. Thats when I found Paradise...all that remains of the old town is it's cemetary. Apparently long forgotten, but untouched.

So it had been there, and I'd found it, what was left of it. I'm still tired, sunburned, mosquito bitten and have paddling blisters...but I'm home with my furkids and happy, they can sense this and are all piled around me right now......

We're plotting the next adventure!!
post #3 of 5
That looks like a great trip! I love canoeing, haven't been in years, but that looks like a beautiful area to do it! Thanks for the photos
post #4 of 5
The genealogist in me is wondering if the cemetery has been "walked" (names and dates recorded from headstones). I may visit the county genealogy board and see... I have ancestors who came into Southern Indiana from Muhlenberg Co. though I'm not sure exactly where.

BTW - wish we could have seen a pic of you!
post #5 of 5
Just beautiful! What a great trip!
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