Paris was founded in the mid-1980’s but many of its historic buildings were lost in a fire that destroyed almost half of the town in 1916. The blaze started at a warehouse near the southwest city limits and the cause is unknown. One theory is that a spark from a switch engine ignited dry grass near the warehouse. 50 mph winds blew the fire out of control in a path to the northeast edge of Paris.
Firemen from Bonham, Cooper, Dallas, Honey Grove and Hugo (Oklahoma) came to help the local fire department battle the flames. The fire destroyed most of the central business district and also swept through a residential area before it was finally brought under control the following day.
Damage from the fire was substantial and was estimated at around $11,000,000. Several churches were burned along with the Federal building, Post Office, Lamar County Courthouse and Jail and City Hall. The townspeople began the rebuilding almost immediately from relief funds that were collected. The former prosperity of Paris was quickly restored.
Fondest memory: An interesting tidbit. In 1984 director Wim Wenders created his most memorable movie masterpiece titled Paris, Texas. The film stars Harry Dean Stanton and Nastassja Kinski and in my opinion is brilliantly directed. This is an unusual road movie, with screenplay by acclaimed playwright Sam Shepard, tells the tale of Travis, a man lost in his own private hell. Presumed dead for four years, he reappears from the desert on the Mexico border, world-weary ,a semi amnesiac and in need for his son and wife with whom he abandoned years before.I suggest if you have not seen it to go out and rent it at once. It is a beautiful story with beautiful location shots.