Whitehaven Paducah, KY

Whitehaven, a 1860's landmark in Paducah, Kentucky is perhaps the most elegant and most unusual rest stop and tourist information center in the country.

Whitehaven is hardly your average rest stop. This magnificent landmark home along I-24 near Paducah, Kentucky serves as a Tourist Welcome Center. Rescued from possible destruction in 1981 by Paducah Community College, the estate home survived and in March 1984 was listed on the National Register of Historic Placed by the United States Deparment of Interior.

Whitehaven is open for tours from 10 to 2, but open 9 to 9 as a Visitor Center.

This restored home houses a collection of donated artifacts that belonged to the former Vice-president Alben Barkley. The collection includes the Vice-Presidential desk and chair, walking canes, senatorial shaving mugs, the first Vice-President flag, the 1948 inaugural Bible and other momentoes.

Whitehaven's original brick structure was built in the 1860's by Edward L. Anderson. The house remained in the Anderson family till 1903 when it was sold for a sum of $4,000 to a local bank clerk named Ed I. Atkins. Mr. Atkins commissioned A.L. Lassiter to do a complete remodeling of the home and as was the common practice of that time, Lassiter added the Classical Revival architectural additions including the six Corinthian pillars, which now hold up the massive front porch.

At this time, stained glass and interior plasterwork were also added to the house. An inlaid stained glass piece with the name Whitehave 1903 was installed over the stairway landing.

The home changed families again in 1908 when it sold for a sum of $7,000 in cash to then Mayor of Paducah, James P. Smith. At this time, the house gained an additional structure of six bedrooms to house the family's six children. In addition, the home was redecorated with silk wallpaper and heavy damask gold draperies.

Whitehaven was renamed Bide-A-Wee which is Scottish from "Come Rest A While." It remained in the Smith family till 1968. The family moved believing the home was going to be torn down due to the construction of I-24, which now runs just fifty yards from its front door.

Between its abandonment in '68 and its purchase in '81, it was subject to large amounts of vandalism, none of which is evident today. The restoration has been honored on the local, state, and national level.

This lovely mansion is by far the most exquisite visitors center and rest stop. It is a must stop rest stop.

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