Paris, Arkansas

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This article is about the Arkansas city. For other uses, see Paris (disambiguation).
Paris, Arkansas
City
Downtown Paris, AR 001.jpg
Location in Logan County and the state of Arkansas
Location in Logan County and the state of Arkansas
Coordinates: 35°17′30″N 93°43′34″W / 35.29167°N 93.72611°W / 35.29167; -93.72611Coordinates: 35°17′30″N 93°43′34″W / 35.29167°N 93.72611°W / 35.29167; -93.72611
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Logan
Area
 • Total 4.8 sq mi (12.4 km2)
 • Land 4.5 sq mi (11.7 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)
Elevation 404 ft (123 m)
Population (2011)
 • Total 3,532
 • Density 780/sq mi (299/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 72855
Area code(s) 479
FIPS code 05-53480
GNIS feature ID 0072997

Paris is a city in Logan County, Arkansas, United States, and serves as the county seat for the northern district of Logan County; its southern district counterpart is Booneville.[1] The population was 3,532 at the 2010 United States Census.

Geography[edit]

Paris is located in a river valley near the Arkansas River in the Ozark Mountain region of northwest Arkansas. Its FIPS is 53480. Its ZIP code is 72855.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12.4 km2), of which, 4.5 square miles (11.7 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km2) of it (5.43%) is water.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 547
1900 836 52.8%
1910 1,497 79.1%
1920 1,740 16.2%
1930 3,234 85.9%
1940 3,430 6.1%
1950 3,731 8.8%
1960 3,007 −19.4%
1970 3,646 21.3%
1980 3,991 9.5%
1990 3,674 −7.9%
2000 3,707 0.9%
2010 3,532 −4.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 3,532 people, 1,553 households, and 984 families residing in the city. The population density was 818.1 people per square mile (316.0/km²). There were 1,713 housing units at an average density of 780 per square mile (146.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.5% White, 2.4% Black or African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 1.11% from other races, and 1.29% from two or more races. 2.16% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,553 households out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.0% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.8% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 21.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 86.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,424, and the median income for a family was $32,409. Males had a median income of $21,955 versus $17,015 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,738. About 15.0% of families and 18.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.7% of those under age 18 and 18.7% of those age 65 or over.

History[edit]

Logan County Courthouse

Pioneers settled into the area about 1820. The village Paris was formed on the Old Military Road between Little Rock and Fort Smith, and 5 miles (8.0 km) south of the Arkansas River. The Logan County seat, Paris, was named after the French capital in 1874. Paris was incorporated on February 18, 1879.

The villagers constructed a one-story frame courthouse. The town prison was constructed nearly three blocks from the courthouse, and remained the town's prison for many years. The prison now serves as the Logan County Museum.

Coal mining flourished. In the 1890s, Paris was a bustling city of 800 people. Citizens boasted of two newspapers, a bottling works company, nine general stores and the Paris Academy. Coal mining was the community's main industry by 1917, but declined by the 60's. As a result, community leaders sought to diversify the town's economic base. Today, the economy of Paris is benefitting from the presence of manufacturing facilities producing parts for the automotive industry and the aerospace industry. Farming and ranching remain among the largest industries in the county and tourism got a boost with the construction and opening of a 60-room, world-class lodge and guest cabins on the top of Mount Magazine, which is 19 miles from Paris. An estimated 400,000 people a year travel to Mount Magazine State Park (2008 estimate).

Paris' schools have seen a steady increase in enrollment over the last three years. The High School and Middle School switched campuses two years ago to complete a promise to the patrons that was made in 1988.

Several interests have been made in the area by bauxite mining companies looking to reduce the costs of aluminum foil production.

Last hanging in Arkansas[edit]

Arthur Tillman at the Gallows

Paris was the site of the last public hanging in Arkansas before the first electric chair in Little Rock.

In 1914, Paris was thrown into turmoil from the murder of a young girl from Delaware, Arkansas. A young man named Arthur Tillman was courting a girl named Amanda Stevens. She disappeared one evening from her home and was found about eight days later, partly submerged in water in a well on the farm of Ambrose Johnson. She was found with a large stone tied around her neck with telephone wire, a bullet through her head, and approximately a wagon load of rocks covering her body.

It is believed that the girl was not dead when she was put into the well because her hands were filled with dirt that could only result from a struggle or attempting to free herself.

On July 15, 1914, Arthur Tillman was hanged for the murder of his girlfriend, Amanda.

Today, the Jail (seen here) is now a museum dedicated to Logan County history. Where spectators were located is now a road, joining to the main road, HWY 22. You can tour through the entire building, jail keeper's living quarters side and the jail side. There are many relics of Paris' past, such as farming equipment, clothing, and everyday objects from the settlers' lives, and exhibits of Native American artifacts, Civil War artifacts, and coal mining to name a few.

Paris Express[edit]

The Paris Express was founded in 1880, one year after the community of Paris was established and it is the oldest, continually operating business in Paris. J.T. Perryman was the first publisher and W.H.H. Harley was the first editor. During the next five years of its existence it had several owners.

In 1885 the weekly Express was purchased from Charles Noble by William M. Greenwood, former publisher of the Chismville Star and an associate with the Fort Smith Daily Tribune. Greenwood published the Paris Express for 46 years until his death in 1929.

Hugh and J.C. Park of the Van Buren Press-Argus purchased the Express from the Greenwood estate and then sold it a few months later to Wallace D. Hurley. Hurley published the paper until 1939 when it was purchased by John Guion and Robert Breeden. Guion was editor and publisher of the Express and a sister paper, the Paris Progress, and in 1946 served as president of the Arkansas Press Association. It was at that time that the Paris company began publishing the Charleston and Greenwood papers.

The Progress, which was launched in 1910 with J.W. Wagner as owner and editor, started out as a semi-weekly. In 1920 it was renamed the Paris Progress and in 1927 became a weekly. By that time Leslie and C.E. Gray, father and son, were the owners. In 1941 it was sold to John Guion.

The Paris Commercial Press, which was only in business during 1937 became consolidated with the Progress. It was also a weekly.

The papers were purchased in 1976 by Harte-Hanks Communications, Inc., of San Antonio, Tex. from John Guion. Victor Schneider continued as publisher. On Jan. 1, 1987 the newspaper was purchased by Worrell Enterprises of Lynchburg, Va.

The Paris Express and the Paris Progress were combined into a bi-weekly bearing the name of Paris Express Progress in January 1977. The Paris Express Progress was sold in April 1988 to Westward Communications, a Dallas-based company.

The bi-weekly Paris Express Progress combined into a "super" weekly issue on May 17, 1989 called the Paris Express. In July 1997 Westward Communications sold to Westward Communications, LLC based out of The Woodlands, Tex.

Stephens Media Group purchased the Paris Express in March, 2000. The company is based in Las Vegas, Nev. with Sherman Frederick, President and Michael Ferguson, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Vickey Wiggins continued as publisher.

The Paris Express located at 22 South Express, currently employs six full-time employees and one part-time employee with a circulation of 3,600.

Area schools[edit]

Paris school district[edit]

Paris School District has three public schools:

One private school:

  • Saint Joseph Catholic School

Subiaco[edit]

Subiaco preparatory academy:

  • Subiaco Abbey Academy

Points of interest[edit]

  • Mount Magazine State Park is the highest point in the state of Arkansas and one of the highest points between the Alleghenies and the Rockies.
  • County Line Auction House and Flea Market held every Wednesday, just west of Paris in Countyline, AR.
  • Cowie Wine Cellars is a local vineyard and bottler of wines in the Arkansas River Valley, offering a museum and Bed and Breakfast.
  • Logan County Museum is the restored jail and the site of the last state-sanctioned hanging in Arkansas (in 1914). Prisoners were kept in an iron cages upstairs, while the jailer and his family lived downstairs. Displays on permanent exhibit at the Museum include the history of local mining, the development and demise of the county's railroads, the history and impact of the Smith family of doctors, numerous Indian artifacts, and vintage quilts and other needlework. Main entrance exhibit themes change monthly.
  • Cove Lake Recreation Area near Mount Magazine. Noted campsite 31.

Local festivals[edit]

  • Frontier Day - Held on the first Saturday of October, Frontier Day celebrates the founding members of the city.
  • Butterfly Festival - Next to last weekend in June, honors the multitudes of butterflies (both rare and nonrare) found in the bluff region of Mount Magazine, founded in 1997. This initiative for the festival was spearheaded by June Gilbreath (fundraising and awareness) after the discovery of a rare species of butterfly — the Diana Fritillary butterfly (discovered by Gary Noel Ross, Ph.D. Lepidopterist) — that was previously thought to be extinct, but is found in abundance on the mountain summit. The species has since been designated as the official state butterfly of Arkansas. The festival is celebrated at two sites, atop Mount Magazine and in downtown Paris. Attendance has steadily climbed since 2002 with the 2007 event topping 10,000 people.
  • Farmers Market - beginning in May, farmers bring fresh produce to the square for sale.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]