Eddyville, Kentucky is located in Lyon County and is a relatively small community with big ambitions. Eddyville is known for several attractions, one of which is known by locals as the “Castle on the Cumberland” or Kentucky State Penitentiary. The prison is off of KY Hwy 730 in what was old Eddyville and is approximately 3 miles from new Eddyville. The castle, as locals have always referred to it, is a massive stone prison and towers over Lake Barkley on a large cliff. The prison has an electric chair that is still available for use, however, in 1998 the state mandated that death row inmates would have a choice of lethal injection or electrocution. Prior to the Ky. State Penitentiary starting electrocutions back in 1911, it was standard practice in Kentucky to be put to death by hanging. The preferred method of execution is now lethal injection.
Eddyville is smack dab in the middle of the lakes area, which includes Kentucky and Barkley Lake and it is one of the main tourist towns for anyone visiting the Land Between the Lakes region. The prison isn’t luckily the only attraction Eddyville holds. Most tourists to the area can’t pass up seeing the West Kentucky Outlet Mall, which opened in 1988 and is located on US 62 in Eddyville. The mall has several outlet stores and the opening brought in an onslaught of progress to the little town of Eddyville. Several types of businesses began moving into the community knowing that the tourists would definitely come to the small town for bargains by their favorite designers and brands.
Another big attraction that Eddyville holds is Venture River Water Park, which is located on US 62 in Eddyville. Venture River has plenty of terrific water fun to enjoy ranging from floating on the River to wave riding in a fabulous wave pool. There are a large array of water slides including a dueling type where people can view who gets down first. There is even extreme rides such as the Cyclone and The Cliffhanger both of which gives me the chills. Venture River also has a large kiddie area called Pleasure Island and large sunning areas, everything one might need can be bought at the park and they have food available at the concession stand. Prices range from 21 dollars for people over a certain height requirement to 16 dollars for children under a certain height and 2 years or younger are free. There is also a reduced price for seniors 60 years or older. For more information, season passes and directions call 270-388-7999.
Eddyville has several eateries and although the town has suffered over the years with a reduction of tourists being drawn by other local area attractions such as Opry Mills Outlet Mall in Nashville or Paducah Kentucky’s mall called Kentucky Oaks. The town has survived and still benefits from the summer tourists which swarm down on both lake areas every year for every summer activity imaginable including boating, camping, hiking, fishing, etc.
I have lived in the lake area for most of my life and some of my fondest memories are of boating and camping almost year round with my family. Growing up my father owned a local boating business and was well known throughout lake area, so I have great respect for all the lake area communities. Eddyville has always been one of my favorite lake area towns and still to this day brings back old memories every time I pass through going home.
References for this article include: www.angelfire.com/ky/ksp/CastleonCumberland.htm