Market House Museum
A tiny settlement had existed upon the present day town site which was then known as Pekin. When famous explorer William Clark (of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) mapped out the new town, to be called Paducah, a spot was set aside for a market site. Three market houses have graced the site since then.
The first Market House, designed of crude logs, was built in 1836.It would later burn. The second, a brick central section with plank additions built on later at either end, was erected in 1850. It was this building that was used as a civil war hospital following the Battle of Paducah in March 1864. This structure was razed in 1904 to make way for the present Market House, built in 1905, at a cost of $25,000. It was designed by a Mr. Brainerd and constructed by a Mr. Katterjohn, a Paducah native. The market was designed to be used as a source for produce and meats.
The Market House was open as a market six days a week, and was closed on Sundays.
The shorter statured ends of the building were utilized by produce and flower vendors, who backed their wagons into the open sides of the building, and sold to shoppers who browsed through the building by a middle aisle, which stretched the length of the block long building. The central section, which had a tall, soaring trussed ceiling, was the meat market. Twenty two meat vendors operated three sided stalls under each arched window. The tall ceilings allowed the heat to travel upwards, keeping the meats ( and shoppers) as cool as possible below.
The market closed in the early 1960's, when open air markets became undesirable with the availability of air conditioned groceries and refrigeration.
Today, the Market House is the home of three separate non-profit organizations, a community theatre, an art gallery, and the Market House Museum, which is housed in the taller central section of the building. The Market House Museum is the oldest continually operating history museum in Paducah, having been organized in 1963, and opening to the public in 1968.