When the Mississippi River begins in Minnesota, it is quiet, calm, and not much more than an everyday brook. Quickly beginning its journey southward, the river gains strength as it loses elevation, reaching Kentucky at a dramatic confluence with the Ohio. Transformed into the Mighty Mississippi, the river slices through the country, dividing east from west, at the geographic boundaries of the river towns that dot its course. Yet, the river’s influence runs deeper than mere lines on a map. To be an American river town on this route is to maintain a link to the country’s most influential events. These ties can be seen at every turn along the Kentucky Great River Road, a picturesque route that parallels the Mississippi River as it flows nearly 50 miles against the western border of Kentucky. From their perch along the jagged river bluffs, this collection of small but vital towns have witnessed some of the most important moments in American history, from 13th century Mississippian archeological sites to crucial battlegrounds of the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Great rivers tell great stories, and no tale is more intriguing than the one told along the Kentucky Great River Road.