Kentucky is Home to a Forgotten Town Most People Aren’t Aware About It


The rolling hills and beautiful scenery of Kentucky hide a darker side. The state has a lot of history and natural beauty. Paradise is one of the lost places that time has left behind. It is a ghost town that used to be a thriving coal mining village.

The Rise and Decline of Paradise

Paradise is in Muhlenberg County, about 10 miles east of Greenville. It was formed in the early 1800s and got its name from the lush greenery around it. At its busiest, the town had more than 2,000 people living in it. It had a school, a church, a post office, a hotel, a bank, and many shops and other companies.

Starting in the late 1800s, coal mining was Paradise’s main source of income. Because the town was strategically located near the Green River, it was easy to get coal to different places. Paradise was also linked to nearby towns and cities by a railroad stop, which made it a busy place for business and action.

But things started to change in the 1950s, when people stopped wanting coal and it became clear that mining was bad for the environment. The town’s air and water quality got worse, and coal ash and trash got into the river and made it dirty. Paradise was also plagued by frequent floods, earthquakes, and fires, which made many people leave in search of better chances elsewhere. By the 1960s, the town was pretty much empty.

As Paradise Collapses

In the late 1960s, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) chose to build a coal-fired power plant close to Paradise. This was the last blow to the town. The TVA had to build a pond to cool the plant, which meant that the town and land around it had to be flooded.

The people and companies that were still there were bought out, and most of the buildings were torn down. It was only the graveyard and a few historic sites that were saved. The water covered Paradise in 1967, and the power plant was finished in 1970.

The only thing that can be seen today from Paradise is the power plant’s smokestacks, which rise above the lake that hides the town. It is still running and is one of the biggest coal-fired power plants in the country.

There are places to fish and boat on the lake, but there is no way to get to the town itself. Everyone is welcome to visit the graveyard and ancient sites that are higher up. Former neighbors and their children and grandchildren get together every year for a funeral service and gathering.

The History of Paradise

Even though Paradise is gone, it will never be forgotten. Many famous artists and writers have drawn influence from the place. John Prine’s famous song “Paradise” is one example. Prine is a folk singer from Illinois, which is close by. In his song, “Mourning the Loss of Nature and Culture,” he remembers the town and its people with love and sadness. Artists like Johnny Cash, John Denver, and Dwight Yoakam have covered the song.

The story of Paradise has also been told in movies, books, and videos. One of them is the 1981 movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” which is about the life of country singer Loretta Lynn, whose father worked in the Paradise mines and was born in a nearby town. Sissy Spacek won an Academy Award for her role as Lynn in the movie, which was one of seven that were nominated.

Even though Paradise is now just a forgotten ghost town in the pages of history, it is an important part of Kentucky’s past. It’s a place to think about the past and learn from the present, a tale of heaven lost but not completely wiped.


Given the historical significance and aesthetic appeal of Kentucky’s undulating hills, the narrative of Paradise assumes a poignant form. It was once a flourishing coal mining community, but environmental issues, flooding, and ultimately a power plant submersion caused its demise.

Presently, the smokestacks serve as silent testaments to an earlier period, evoked in recollections through anecdotes, lullabies, and the yearly assembly of former inhabitants. Despite being lost in time, Paradise’s legacy endures as a poignant reminder of the complex history of Kentucky—a tale of a paradise that was not entirely eradicated.

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