Paradise, Kentucky was a small, quaint, country town when the big Paradise Steam
Power Fossil Plant was built. After a few years of operation, of this coal fired
plant, the ash fallout and the noxious flue gases from the plant became a problem
for the citizens of Paradise and others in the surrounding area. On particular
days with certain atmospheric conditions, the fly ash would be bad enough to dirty
any laundry that was hung out to dry and the Sulfur Dioxide gas would make breathing
difficult. The plant was operating under EPA guidelines, but those guidelines were
less strict in the early sixties. For all concerned, a town buy-out was the best
alternate and TVA purchased all of the property in the Paradise area including the
post office. The post office was closed in 1967 after being in operation since
1852. The above picture is of Main Street in Paradise taken in 1898. I am guessing,
but I think that the view is looking toward the ferry and Green River. Good bye
Paradise was just a place on the Green River until the early nineteenth century
and was probably a place known by ancient Indians, as Indian Knoll was just across
the river. In the early eighteen hundreds, the settlement at Paradise was known as
Stom's Landing after Leonard Stom founded, what was to be known as Stom's Ferry. A
rumor and a good story is that during the early years a pioneer family was traveling
up Green River, by boat, when a young daughter became sick. The desperate parents
had stopped at several ports and towns along the river, but help was just not available.
Without help, they continued up river and were told by several old timers of a magical
place further up river where Indians, centuries ago, had left an aura or an emanation
that was believed to be able to cure some people. Several days later, the child was
so near death that their last stop was to find a place to bury the child. Unbeknown
to the parents, they had stopped at that magical place. The next day the child was
better, and in a few days completely well. The joyful parents told all that this
place must be Paradise and they decided to make roots in the town which later became
known as Paradise.
A post office was established at Paradise on March 1, 1852. It continued in operation
until it closed in 1967. Countless towns have combination type grocery stores, or
"Quick Pick" type stores where drinks and a soda plus a desert can be purchased. On
several occasions, during hunting and fishing trips, or a trip to Airdrie Hill, I
have stopped in one of the Paradise stores to dine on a fine bologna and cheese
sandwich, with a R.C. and a Moon Pie.
John Prine, singer/songwriter wrote and recorded a song about Paradise, Kentucky.
The song, "Paradise", was about the town of Paradise, in Muhlenberg County, being
hauled away by Peabody's coal train. Hope your viewing system is set up so that
you can hear the mp3 version of the song as written and sung by John Prine. The
lyrics blame Peabody Coal Company for the demise of Paradise, but in reality
Pittsburg and Midway Coal Company stripped the coal in the area, but left Paradise
and Airdrie Hill intact. The Paradise Fossil Plant created unsafe and uncomfortable
living conditions for the Paradise residents. To atone for those conditions, created
by the Coal Burning plant, TVA bought all of the property in the surrounding area,
but the Paradise Cemetery. All that remains of the original town is the small
cemetery. The big flood of 1937 and numerous other floods caused a lot of grief
and damage to this small river town, but the thought of picking up and moving never
seriously occurred to the majority of the residents.
Thanks for looking.