In the era of segregation, Paducah’s Hotel Metropolitan was the heart of the African-American community of Upper Town; the historic marker and recent restoration of the Cabin Creek covered bridge in Lewis County; Kentucky’s iconic ash trees are at risk from the invasive Emerald Ash Borer; and Amy Hess visits Hazard, the “Queen City of the Mountains” for Our Town.
In 1909, 24-year-old widow Maggie Steed saw a business opportunity in Paducah. The thriving African-American community was in need of a hotel. In the days of segregation, African-Americans could not buy rooms at white hotels.
The Hotel Metropolitan was the first hotel in Paducah operated by and for African-Americans. “It symbolizes a cultural oasis in a time of segregation, and was a stop along the old Chitlin’ Circuit for traveling musicians who weren’t allowed to access white hotels,” said J.D. Wilkes, author of “Barn Dances and Jamborees Across Kentucky.”
Emerald Ash Borer and the Destruction of Kentucky’s Trees
In Kentucky, the landscape includes more than 220 million ash trees. But there’s an invasive species that is threatening to wipe out that population: the emerald ash borer was first discovered in the state in 2009.
“[Emerald ash borer] is native to east Asia,” says Jody Thompson, an Environmental Scientist with the Kentucky Division of Forestry. “Roughly 20 years ago, it made its way into the United States in the Detroit area, through the port there. Since that time, it’s been infesting and killing ash trees throughout much of the Eastern United States and it’s doing that significantly in Kentucky as well.”
Our Town: Hazard, Kentucky.
Hazard, Kentucky, is a historic community in Eastern Kentucky with amenities you might not expect to find in a small, rural town.
Nan Gorman became mayor of Hazard after her husband, Mayor Bill Gorman, passed away in 2010. She was later re-elected to the seat.
“[My husband] did so much and his heart was in it,” she says. “He was passionate about Hazard, Perry County, and Eastern Kentucky.”