PRINCETON — Another Western Kentucky area has joined the Trail of Tears.
The Paducah Sun reported that Mayor Gale Cherry and members of the National Park Service recently signed an agreement recognizing Big Spring Park as one of the many settlements in Kentucky that hosted members of the Cherokee tribe as it made its way from Georgia to Oklahoma in 1838-39.
Big Spring joins designated Trail stops at Mantle Rock in Livingston County, Gray's Inn in Guthrie, Radford Park near Pembroke and the Trail of Tears Commemorative Park in Hopkinsville.
Historians studied journals and numerous other items — including a receipt for a child's coffin and yards of fabric — before presenting the information to the Park Service.
"We had to have proof that they stopped here," said Barbara Gillihan, president of the Caldwell County chapter of the Trail of Tears Association. "They came through in 12 groups, or about 16,000 total."
The park service and the city will cooperate on planning and signs for the property, which will continued to be owned by the city. Signs marking the area are expected to arrive in four to six months.
Big Spring will be listed on the National Park Service's Web site and in its publications about the trail.
Officials hope the designation will be a boon to local tourism.