Historic downtown Paris
Location of Lamar County
|• City Council||Dr Steve Clifford |
|• City Manager||John Godwin|
|• Total||44.4 sq mi (115.0 km2)|
|• Land||42.8 sq mi (110.7 km2)|
|• Water||1.7 sq mi (4.3 km2)|
|Elevation||600 ft (183 m)|
|• Density||588.1/sq mi (227.4/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1364810|
Paris is a city and county seat of Lamar County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 25,171. It is situated in Northeast Texas at the western edge of the Piney Woods, and 98 miles (158 km) northeast of the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex. Physiographically, these regions are part of the West Gulf Coastal Plain.
Following a tradition of American cities named "Paris", the city commissioned a 65-foot (20 m) replica of the Eiffel Tower in 1993 and installed it on site of the Love Civic Center, southeast of the town square. In 1998, presumably as a response to the 1993 construction of a 60-foot (18 m) tower in Paris, Tennessee, the city placed a giant red cowboy hat atop its tower. The current Eiffel Tower replica is at least the second one; an earlier replica constructed of wood was later destroyed by a tornado.
Present-day Lamar County was part of Red River County during the Republic of Texas. By 1840, population growth necessitated the organization of a new county. George Washington Wright, who had served in the Third Congress of the Republic of Texas as a representative from Red River County, was a major proponent of the new county. The Fifth Congress established the new county on December 17, 1840, and named it after Mirabeau B. Lamar, who was the first Vice President and the second President of the Republic of Texas.
Lamar County was one of the 18 Texas counties that voted against secession on February 23, 1861.
In 1877, 1896, and 1916, major fires in the city forced considerable rebuilding. The 1916 fire destroyed almost half the town and caused an estimated $11 million in property damage. The fire ruined most of the central business district and swept through a residential area. The burned structures included the Federal Building and Post Office, the Lamar County Courthouse and Jail, City Hall, most commercial buildings, and several churches.
In 1893, black teenager Henry Smith was accused of murder, tortured, and then burned to death on a scaffold in front of thousands of spectators in Paris. In 1920, two black brothers from the Arthur family were tied to a flagpole and burned to death at the Paris fairgrounds. The city has prominent memorials to the Confederacy, but has no acknowledgement of these killings.
In 1943, the U.S. Supreme Court in Largent v. Texas struck down a Paris ordinance that prohibited a person from selling or distributing religious publications without first obtaining a city-issued permit. The Court ruled that the ordinance abridged freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Paris has long been a railroad center. The Texas and Pacific reached town in 1876; the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway (later merged into the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway) and the Frisco in 1887; the Texas Midland Railroad (later Southern Pacific) in 1894; and the Paris and Mount Pleasant (Pa-Ma Line) in 1910. Paris Union Station, built 1912, served Frisco], Santa Fe, and Texas Midland passenger trains until 1956. Today, the station is used by the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce and serves as the research library for the Lamar County Genealogical Society.
The city is home to several late-19th to mid-20th century stately homes. Among these is the Rufus Fenner Scott Mansion, designed by German architect J.L. Wees and constructed in 1910. The structure is solid concrete and steel with four floors. Rufus Scott was a prominent businessman known for shipping, imports, and banking. He was well known by local farmers, who bought aging transport mules from him. The Scott Mansion narrowly survived the fire of 1916. After the fire, Scott brought the architect Wees back to Paris to redesign the historic downtown area.
Paris was named the "Best Small Town in Texas" by Kevin Heubusch in his book The New Rating Guide to Life in America's Small Cities (1997).
Since 1869, The Paris News has served as the newspaper in the city of Paris. It circulates daily in the city and throughout Lamar County, as well as in neighboring Delta, Fannin, and Red River Counties in Texas and Choctaw County, Oklahoma.
In the late-19th and early-20th centuries, several lynchings were staged at the Paris Fairgrounds as public spectacles, with thousands of white spectators cheering as the victims were tortured and then immolated, dismembered, or otherwise murdered. Among the victims was Henry Smith, a teenager lynched in 1893.
About 115 years later, in 2008, an African-American man, Brandon McClelland, was run over and dragged to death under a vehicle. Two white men were arrested, but the prosecutor cited lack of evidence and declined to press charges, and no serious subsequent attempt to find other perpetrators was made. This caused unrest in the Paris African-American community.
Following this incident, an attempt by the United States Department of Justice Justice Community Relations Service to initiate a dialog between the races in the town ended in failure when African-American complaints were mostly met by silent glares.
|“||I think we are probably stuck in 1930 right about now.||”|
|— Brenda Cherry|
In 2007, a 14-year-old African-American girl was sentenced by a local judge to up to 7 years in a youth prison for shoving a hall monitor at Paris High School. Three months earlier, the same judge had sentenced a 14-year-old white girl to probation for arson. This sentencing disparity occasioned nationwide controversy and the African-American girl was released after serving one year on orders of a special conservator appointed by the State of Texas to investigate problems with the state's juvenile-justice practices.
In 2009, some African-American workers at the Turner Industries plant in the city claimed that hangman's nooses, Confederate flags, and racist graffiti were regular features of plant culture. At the same time, the United States Department of Education was conducting an investigation into allegations that African-American students in Paris's schools are disciplined more harshly than white students for similar offenses.
|“||I do not believe there is systematic racial discrimination in Lamar County. I do believe there is a misperception that that is going on.||”|
|— Judge M. C. Superville|
In 2015, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled after an investigation that African-American workers at the Sara Lee Corporation plant in Paris (closed in 2011) were deliberately disproportionately exposed to asbestos, black mold, and other toxins, and also were targets of racial slurs and racist graffiti.
Paris is located at  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 44.4 square miles (115 km2), of which 42.8 square miles (111 km2) are land and 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2) (3.74%) are covered by water.(33.662508, −95.547692).
Paris has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa in the Köppen climate classification). It is located in "Tornado Alley", an area largely centered in the middle of the United States in which tornadoes occur frequently because of weather patterns and geography. Paris is in USDA plant hardiness zone 8a for winter temperatures. This is cooler than its southern neighbor Dallas, and while similar to Atlanta, Georgia, it has warmer summertime temperatures. Summertime average highs reach 94 °F (34 °C) and 95 °F (35 °C) in July and August, with associated lows of 72 °F (22 °C) and 71 °F (22 °C). Winter temperatures drop to an average high of 51 °F (11 °C) and low of 30 °F (−1 °C) in January. The highest temperature on record was 115 °F (46 °C), set in August 1936, and the record low was −5 °F (−21 °C), set in 1930. Average precipitation is 47.82 in (1,215 mm). Snow is not unusual, but is by no means predictable, and years can pass with no snowfall at all.
On April 2, 1982, Paris was hit by an F4 tornado that destroyed more than 1,500 homes, and left 10 people dead, 170 injured, and 3,000 homeless. The damage toll from this tornado was estimated at US$50 million in 1982.
|Climate data for Paris, Texas|
|Record high °F (°C)||90
|Average high °F (°C)||53.2
|Daily mean °F (°C)||42.5
|Average low °F (°C)||31.7
|Record low °F (°C)||−5
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.8
As of the census of 2010, 25,171 people, 10,306 households, and 6,426 families resided in the city. The population density was 588.1 people per square mile (227.4/km²). The 11,883 housing units averaged 277.6 per square mile (107.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.3% White, 24.8% African American, 3.1% Native American, 1.1% Asian, and 4.1% from other races]]. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 8.2% of the population.
Of the 10,306 households, 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.8% were married couples living together, 19.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.6% were not families. About 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the city, the population was distributed as 25.0% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.9 males.
In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $27,438, and for a family was $34,916. Males had a median income of $29,378 versus $20,080 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,137. About 16.5% of families and 20.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.0% of those under age 18 and 15.9% of those age 65 or over.
In the past, Paris was a major cotton exchange, and the county was developed as cotton plantations. While cotton is still farmed on the lands around Paris, it is no longer a major part of the economy.
Paris' one major hospital has two campuses: Paris Regional Medical Center South (formerly St. Joseph's Hospital) and Paris Regional Medical Center North (formerly McCuistion Regional Medical Center). It serves as the center of healthcare for much of Northeast Texas and Southeast Oklahoma. Both campuses are now operated jointly under the name of the Paris Regional Medical Center, a division of Essent Healthcare. Paris Regional Medical Center South Campus has recently closed and only the North Campus remains open. The health network is one of the largest employers in the Paris area.
|#||Employer||# of employees|
|T-6||North Lamar ISD||500|
|9||City of Paris||320|
Note: PRMC is Paris Regional Medical Center.
Elementary and secondary education is split among three main school districts:
Prairiland ISD also serves a small portion of the town, along with Blossom ISD and Roxton ISD.
In addition, Paris Junior College provides postsecondary education. It hosts the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology, a well-respected school of gemology, horology, and jewelry. The Industrial Technology Division offers programs in air conditioning technology, refrigeration technology, agricultural technology, drafting and computer-aided design, electronics, electromechanical technology, and welding technology.
The Paris Public Library serves Paris, as does the Lamar County Genealogical Society Library.
It is governed by a city council as specified in the city's charter adopted in 1948.
According to the Texas Transportation Commission, Paris is the second-largest city in Texas without a four-lane divided highway connecting to an interstate highway within the state. However, those traveling north of the city can go into the Midwest on a four-lane thoroughfare via US 271 across the Red River into Oklahoma, and then the Indian Nation Turnpike from Hugo to Interstate 40 at Henryetta, which in turn continues as a free four-lane highway via US 75 to Tulsa.
Paris is served by two taxicab companies. Cox Field provides general aviation services.
Media related to Paris, Texas at Wikimedia Commons