Life in The Upper South... History and Old Stuff
Whitehaven is a beautifully restored mansion at Paducah, KY, located near Interstate 24. If you ever pass through Paducah, I hope you'll take time to visit it. Take Exit 7 off I-24 and follow the signs.
One wing of the house hosts the Kentucky Welcome Center and rest stop. Its facilities are open 24 hours for travelers.
The main part of the house is open for tours every half-hour from 1:00-4:00 p.m. daily. The house is furnished with antiques, and the second floor holds a collection of Vice President Alben Barkley memorabilia.
Even if you don't happen to arrive at the time that the tours are being given, you can walk around the porches, peek in the windows, and enjoy the grounds. And of course, you can pick up a Kentucky map and lots of tourist information in the Welcome Center.
The historic marker at Whitehaven gives a good synopsis of the house's story:
Main part of house, two-story brick structure, built in 1860's by Edward Anderson. Edward Atkins bought it in 1903 and had noted Paducah architect A.L. Lassiter transform Victorian farmhouse into Classical Revival mansion. He added the Corinthian-columned front portico and named house Whitehaven.
In 1908, Paducah Mayor James P. Smith bought and renamed home "Bide-A-Wee," Scottish adage for "Come Rest A While." Smith family members lived here until 1968. After mansion restored, it opened on June 23, 1983 as Whitehaven Tourist Welcome Center. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
The historic marker doesn't explain that Whitehaven had suffered a good deal of vandalism and deterioration, and its future was uncertain until the decision was made to restore and refurbish it as the welcome center at I-24's northern entry to Kentucky. It's a model of historic preservation of which Kentucky is (and should be!) proud.
More photos of beautiful Whitehaven can be viewed at: