Kentucky's Green River (Images of America)
Named for Revolutionary general Nathanael Greene, Kentucky's Green River begins a 384-mile journey at its source near Kings Mountain in Lincoln County, flowing through the Pennyroyal and Western Coal Field regions until its confluence with the Ohio River in Henderson County. Throughout the 1800s, the Green River was a lifeline for valley residents, both in obtaining supplies or transporting products to cities along the Ohio River and destinations as far as New Orleans. Flatboats moved lime, coal, tobacco, and whiskey out of the valley, while rafts of logs were floated to Evansville sawmills. In the 1830s, a series of locks and dams were built on the Green River, permanently raising water levels that finally allowed larger paddle wheel steamers to begin plying upstream, transporting passengers and freight into the river's upper reaches. Referred to as the "era of steamboating," these magnificent boats were numerous until the last of the fleet, the Evansville, burned in 1931. Today, commercial towboats continue moving numerous products along the lower segment of the river, while the upper portion of the river is known as the fourth-most diverse aquatic ecosystem in the United States, making it a destination for outdoor enthusiasts from across the country.