Paris, Texas

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Paris, Texas
Historic Downtown Paris
Historic Downtown Paris
Location of Lamar County
Location of Lamar County
Lamar County Paris.svg
Coordinates: 33°39′45″N 95°32′52″W / 33.66250°N 95.54778°W / 33.66250; -95.54778
CountryUnited States
 • City CouncilReginald Hughes
Shatara Moore
Gary Savage
Minor Pankaj
Linda Knox
Clayton Pilgrim
Paula Portugal (Mayor)
 • City ManagerGrayson Path
 • Total37.07 sq mi (96.00 km2)
 • Land35.19 sq mi (91.14 km2)
 • Water1.88 sq mi (4.86 km2)
600 ft (183 m)
 • Total24,171
 • Density650/sq mi (250/km2)
 • Demonym
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code903/430
FIPS code48-55080
GNIS feature ID1364810[2]

Paris is a city and county seat of Lamar County, Texas, United States. Located in Northeast Texas at the western edge of the Piney Woods, the population of the city was 24,171 in 2020.[3]

Following a tradition of American cities named "Paris" (named after France's capital), the city commissioned a 65-foot-tall (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-tall (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 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,[4] who was the first Vice President and the second President of the Republic of Texas.

Map of the city in 1885

Lamar County was one of the 18 Texas counties that voted against secession on February 23, 1861.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[7]

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.[8]


Paris is located at 33°39′45″N 95°32′52″W / 33.66250°N 95.54778°W / 33.66250; -95.54778 (33.662508, −95.547692).[9] 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.


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.[10]

Climate data for Paris, Texas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
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
Source: [11]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Texas Almanac[12]

From a 1880 United States census population of 3,980, the population of the city of Paris increased to 25,898 at the 2000 census; in 2020, however, its population declined to 24,171.[3]

Among the city population in 2010, there were 10,306 households, and 6,426 families.[13] 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). 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.

By 2020, there were 10,522 households according to the American Community Survey, and 3,549 were married-couple households.[14] The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.99. Of its 2020 population there were 933 foreign-born nationals, 18.9% of whom were naturalized U.S. citizens. As of the census estimates, there were 49.6% of owner-occupied units and 50.4% renter-occupied units.[15]

Paris racial composition as of 2020[16]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 13,853 56.6%
Black or African American (NH) 5,643 23.06%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 331 1.35%
Asian (NH) 347 1.42%
Pacific Islander (NH) 19 0.08%
Some Other Race (NH) 57 0.23%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 1,318 5.38%
Hispanic or Latino 2,908 11.88%
Total 24,476

In 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the racial makeup of the city was 70.3% White, 24.8% Black and African American, 3.1% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.1% Asian, and 4.1% from other races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 8.2% of the population.[13] In 2020, its racial and ethnic makeup was 56.6% non-Hispanic white, 23.06% Black and African American, 1.35% Native American, 1.42% Asian alone, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.23% some other race, 5.38% multiracial, and 11.88% Hispanic or Latino of any race, reflecting demographic trends of greater diversification.[19][20]

Racial and ethnic controversies[edit]

Lynching of Henry Smith, Paris Fairgrounds, 1893

The city has held a predominantly non-Hispanic white population throughout the majority of its history; the city as such, has also been subjected to many racial controversies regarding minorities in the area.

In the late-19th and early-20th centuries, several lynchings were staged at the Paris Fairgrounds as public spectacles, with several white spectators cheering as the African-American victims were murdered.[21][22] A Black teenager named Henry Smith was lynched in 1893. His murder was the first lynching in US history that was captured in photographs sold as postcards and other trinkets commemorating the killing.[23] Journalist Ida B. Wells said of the incident "Never in the history of civilization has any Christian people stooped to such shocking brutality and indescribable barbarism as that which characterized the people of Paris, Texas."[23]

On July 7, 1920 Irving and Herman Arthur were burned alive at the fairgrounds before a crowd of 3,000,[24] their charred corpses then being dragged by a convoy of shouting white terrorists through Paris's African-American neighborhood as a warning to the Black community.[25]

Local resident and activist Brenda Cherry speaking at the rally for Brandon McClelland, 2009

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 dialogue between the races in the town[26] ended in failure when African-American complaints were mostly met by silent glares from white community members.[22]

A 2009 protest rally over the case led to Texas State Police intervention to prevent groups shouting "white power!" and "black power!" from coming to blows.[27] In response to the incident, civil rights activist Brenda Cherry said "I think we are probably stuck in 1930 right about now".[28] 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[29] 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.[29]

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.[30] 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.[29]

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)[31] were deliberately exposed disproportionately to asbestos, black mold, and other toxins, and also were targets of racial slurs and racist graffiti.[32]

Some Paris residents downplay the extent to which the town has a race-relations problem.[21][27] Judge M. C. Superville commented "I do not believe there is systematic racial discrimination in Lamar County. I do believe there is a misperception that that is going on".[28]


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.[33]

Outside of healthcare, the largest employers are Kimberly-Clark and Campbell's Soup.

# Employer # of employees
1 Essent-PRMC 1000
2 Campbell Soup 900
3 Kimberly-Clark 800
4 Turner Industries 700
5 Paris ISD 640
T-6 North Lamar ISD 500
T-6 Walmart 500
8 TCIM 480
9 City of Paris 320
10 We-Pack Logistics 300


Note: PRMC is Paris Regional Medical Center.


Paris Public Library in July 2015

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.

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.

Texas A&M University-Commerce, a major university of over 12,000 students, is located in the neighboring city of Commerce, 40 minutes southwest of Paris.

The Paris Public Library serves Paris, as does the Lamar County Genealogical Society Library.[35]


City Hall in July 2015

It is governed by a city council as specified in the city's charter adopted in 1948.

State government[edit]

Paris is represented in the Texas Senate by Republican Bryan Hughes, District 1, and in the Texas House of Representatives by Republican Gary VanDeaver, District 1.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates the Paris District Parole Office in Paris.[36]

Federal government[edit]

At the federal level, the two U.S. senators from Texas are Republicans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Paris is part of Texas's 4th congressional district, represented by Republican Pat Fallon.

The United States Postal Service operates the Paris Post Office.[37]

Tourism and recreation[edit]

The Culbertson Fountain
The 65-foot Paris Eiffel Tower with the red cowboy hat at its summit

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.[38]


Historic Paris train station

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.[39]

Major highways[edit]

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.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[17][18]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ a b "2020 Race and Population Totals". Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  4. ^ John Sayles; Henry Sales (1889). Revised Civil Statutes and Laws Passed by the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, & 20th Legislatures of the State of Texas. Vol. 1. Gilbert Book Company. p. 281. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  5. ^ "Texas Almanac: Secession and the Civil War". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  6. ^ Tx State Historical Commission (1978). "The Paris Fire of 1916 – Texas State Historical Marker".
  7. ^ a b Campbell Roberts (February 10, 2015). "History of Lynchings in the South Documents Nearly 4,000 Names". The New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  8. ^ "Largent v. State of Tex". U.S. Supreme Court. Retrieved January 7, 2018 – via FindLaw.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  10. ^ Boyd, Matthew. "Paris officers remember deadly tornado of 1982". Archived from the original on October 27, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  11. ^ "Weatherbase". Weatherbase. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  12. ^ "PARIS". Texas Almanac. November 22, 2010. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  13. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  14. ^ "2020 ACS 5-Year Selected Social Characteristics". Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  15. ^ "2020 ACS 5-Year Households and Families Estimates". Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  16. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  17. ^[not specific enough to verify]
  18. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  19. ^ Frey, William H. (July 1, 2020). "The nation is diversifying even faster than predicted, according to new census data". Brookings. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  20. ^ Bureau, US Census. "The Chance That Two People Chosen at Random Are of Different Race or Ethnicity Groups Has Increased Since 2010". Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  21. ^ a b Howard Witt (March 12, 2007). "To some in Paris, sinister past is back". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  22. ^ a b Howard Witt (February 1, 2009). "Paris, Texas, race relations dialogue turns into dispute". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  23. ^ a b Minutaglio, Bill (2021). A Single Star and Bloody Knuckles: A History of Politics and Race in Texas. University of Texas Press. pp. 48–51. ISBN 9781477310366.
  24. ^ "Man Acquitted of Murder". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. January 14, 1922. p. 7. ISSN 0889-0013. OCLC 60616134. Retrieved July 23, 2020."Texas Mob Burns Negroes At Stake". New Britain Herald. New Britain, Connecticut: Herald Pub. Co. July 7, 1920. pp. 1–12. ISSN 2643-4954. OCLC 8783515. Retrieved July 7, 2020 – via Chronicling America."Mob of Texans Burns Negroes". Bisbee Daily Review. Bisbee, Arizona: W.B. Kelly. July 7, 1920. pp. 1–8. ISSN 2157-3255. OCLC 11363144. Retrieved July 7, 2020 – via Chronicling America.
  25. ^ "Officer of the Law Assaults Innocent Girls" (PDF). New York Age. New York City. September 4, 1920. OCLC 9274417. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  26. ^ Richard Abshire (December 4, 2008). "Justice Department community dialogue on race set for Paris, Texas". Crime Blog. Dallas Morning News. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  27. ^ a b Jeff Carlton (August 21, 2009). "Riot Police Storm Texas Town After Black, White Protesters Clash Over Dragging Death". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  28. ^ a b James C. McKinley Jr. (February 14, 2009). "Killing Stirs Racial Unease in Texas". New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  29. ^ a b c Howard Witt (March 31, 2007). "Girl in prison for shove gets released early". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  30. ^ Howard Witt (February 25, 2009). "Racism bedevils Texas town". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  31. ^ Alejandra Cancino (February 10, 2015). "Sara Lee discriminated against black employees, attorneys say". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  32. ^ "Workers Targets of Racist Behavior at Sara Lee Plant: EEOC". NBC Channel 5 Dallas–Fort Worth. February 10, 2015. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  33. ^ "Major employers". Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  34. ^ "Comprehensive Annual Financial report for City of Paris, Texas" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 2, 2016. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  35. ^ "Paris Public Library - Paris".
  36. ^ Parole Division Region I Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
  37. ^ Post Office Location – Paris Archived May 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ Tx State Historical Commission (1984). "Scott Mansion – Texas State Historical Marker".
  39. ^ "Union Station - Paris, Texas - Train Stations/Depots on".

External links[edit]

Media related to Paris, Texas at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 33°39′45″N 95°32′52″W / 33.662508°N 95.547692°W / 33.662508; -95.547692