From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Seen at Wickliffe, KY

River town on the Mississippi



When I drive out to southwest Missouri to see my sister, I always go through Wickliffe, KY, a small town in extreme northwestern Kentucky. Wickliffe sets just south of the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. About four miles north of Wickliffe, I cross the Ohio River. Then I drive through Illinois for maybe a mile before I cross the Mississippi River into Missouri.  It's an interesting bit of geography.

I've always thought Wickliffe is a pretty little town, so I stopped to stretch my legs and take a few photos when I went through there last week.

Five (or more) highways come into Wickliffe from various directions. Several of them go through Wickliffe's business district on the town's main street, 4th Street.

The courthouse is the most imposing structure in Wickliffe. It borders 4th Street on its west side. The only stoplight in downtown Wickliffe is at the southwest corner of the courthouse block, where Highways 62/51 and 286 intersect.

The courthouse doors on the west (photo above) and south sides of the courthouse aren't used anymore. Signs direct visitors to a door on another side. I figured those doors were closed to discourage people from walking across the busy highway like I did.

Wickliffe became the county seat after the original Ballard County courthouse, located in Blandville, burned in 1880. The election results were appealed by Blandville, but Wickliffe prevailed. A second election favored Wickliffe as well, and the courthouse was built. Amazingly, the population of Ballard County at that time was over 14,000, roughly double the current population.

The Mississippi River runs along the west side of Wickliffe. At the riverside, big transport trucks were waiting to pick up loads from barges. Train tracks run along the river as well. The river, the highways, and the trains have been an important influence on Wickliffe's economy through the years.

A couple blocks above the river, a large old store building is mouldering away. The doors on the left side of the storefront seem to have been for loading in and out.

Across the street nearby, a little fish market was open for business. Farther down, a boat store serves brave mariners of the mighty rivers. At the river's edge, a tugboat was pulled into something that I thought might be a "dry dock" (a term I've heard in association with boat repair.)



In the image below, the bridge across the Mississippi River (from Illinois to Missouri) is visible in the distance. The shoreline at right in the distance is the extreme southern tip of Illinois, and the water flowing in front of it is the Ohio River. This is literally a photo of the Ohio River joining the Mississippi River.



I didn't stop at the Wickliffe Mounds on the north side of town. It is a state historic site where an Indian village was once located. We've visited it before, but a return visit would be nice. I didn't have time for it on this trip, though -- I needed to move on down the road.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.