Paris Texas History and Information
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Paris Texas, a History
Paris, Texas is on U.S. highways 271 and 82 in the central part of the county of Lamar in the upland separating the tributaries of the Red and Sulphur rivers. That is about 98 miles (158 km) northeast of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Or, 33° 39' 45.03" N, 95° 32' 51.69" W if you want to get your GPS out.
I have no information on the first Post Office in Paris. However, the Post Office was burned in the Paris Texas fire of 1916.
Elementary and secondary education is split between three main school districts:
The Paris Junior College, established in 1924, provides higher education for the city as well as the county. In 1990 it was one of the oldest junior colleges in Texas.
People and Places
Places of note
Cox Field Airport
Cox Field Airport (IATA: PRX, ICAO: KPRX) is a general aviation airport located 6 miles East of Paris, Texas. The airport opened in August of 1943 as Cox Field and was used by the United States Army Air Forces as a training base. At the end of the war the airfield was determined to be excess by the military and turned over to the local government for civil use.
Culbertson Fountain is in the Historic District on the Plaza downtown. It was a gift to culminate the rebuilding of Paris after the Fire of 1916. Restored as a Bicentennial project, this fountain reigns not only as the unique focal point for Paris and Lamar County, but as "the prettiest plaza in the State of Texas." (Texas Monthly)
Lake Crook, managed by the City of Paris, offers picnic areas, boating and fishing. The dominant fish at Lake Crook are the Channel catfish, Largemouth bass and White Crappie. More Lake Crook Pics.
Eiffel Tower of Paris Texas
This Eiffel Tower, standing 65 feet tall, represents a remarkable community effort. It was constructed by the Boiler Makers Local #902 utilizing materials, plant space, and employee time donated by the Babcock & Wilcox Company. The tower stands as the impetus for Paris being designated "1995 Best Pit Stop" by the Great North American Race. It was "Texanized" with a cowboy hat in 1998.
Trail de Paris
The Trail de Paris was the class project adopted by Leadership Lamar County Class 2004. The concept was, and is, to create a multi-use trail system along former railroad tracks and right of way. The initial 2.58 miles of trail is asphalt paved and beautiful to walk, jog or ride bike on. Future plans seem to be headed in the direction of expanding the trail through other cities to the east.
Paris has long been a railroad center. The Texas and Pacific reached town in 1876; the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe (later merged into the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway) and the St. Louis - San Francisco Railway] in 1887; the Texas Midland (later Southern Pacific) in 1894; and the Paris and Mount Pleasant (Pa-Ma Line) in 1910. Learn about Railroads in Lamar County. View photos of trains in Lamar County.
Formerly known as Pinhook, the town was founded by merchant George W. Wright, who donated fifty acres of land in February 1844, when the community was also designated the county seat. It was incorporated by the Congress of the Republic of Texas on 1845-02-03. The community has no factual knowledge of who named the town, but it is assumed it was named after its French counterpart.
Paris was on the Central National Road of the Republic of Texas, which ran from San Antonio north through Paris to cross the Red River. By the end of the Civil War, when it had 700 residents, Paris had become a cattle and farming center. It is the site of the first municipally owned and operated abattoir (slaughterhouse) in the United States.
In 1877, 1896 and 1916, major fires forced the city to rebuild. The 1916 fire was so extensive that it destroyed almost half the town, ruining most of the central business district and sweeping through a residential area before it was finally controlled. The resulting property damage was estimated at $11 million. Burned structures included the Federal Building and post office, Lamar County Courthouse and Jail, City Hall, most commercial buildings, and several churches.
On April 2, 1982, Paris was hit by a tornado that destroyed more than 1,500 homes and left eight dead and 3,000 homeless. From 1984 through the early 1990s, local businesses invested nearly $7 million in renovating and revitalizing the downtown area. The city in the early 1990s was a regional medical center serving northeast Texas and southeast Oklahoma.
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