This little building, now the African American Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, isn’t interesting for the artifacts that it contains inside, but rather for the history of the people that once slept here. Before desegregation, this building, known as the Hotel Metropolitan, was home to many famous African Americans passing through town. Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, BB King, Ray Charles, Ike and Tina Turner are some of music’s big names that stayed and played here. I can hear their jam sessions in my mind. WOW!
Using only a hammer and chisel, artist Peter “Wolf” Toth turned a 56,000 pound red oak log into a 35 foot sculpture honoring the Chickasaw Indians who lived and hunted in the Paducah, KY region.
The sculpture is titled “Wacinton (pronounced wat-cheen-too) and means “to have understanding”. This sculpture is one of over 70 such statues that make up the ‘Trail of Whispering Giants”. Toth started the project in 1972 with the goal to donate a giant wooden sculpture of a Native American to each state in the union, which he achieved in 1988. He continues to created more statues as well as repairing the older ones.
It may seem odd that the subject of an inaugural blog post would be about traveling to Paducah, Kentucky, but to a quilter this is near to being a pilgrimage to Mecca. I had my first Paducah quilt show experience when I entered a quilt into the contest for the first time, and found lots of creativity in this city besides just the quilting kind.