Local History - 1950 to present
1950 Paris Lakers, a minor league baseball team, played at Laker Stadium in Twin Lakes Park until the team folded in 1960. See the team's Midwest League franchise record and Paris Lakers, written by a local student in Illinois History magazine.
1951 George W. Bristow was elected to the Supreme Court of Illinois from the Third District. He died in November 1961.
1956 The International Thanksgiving Fellowship program, founded by Gertrude Trodgon, began when 143 students from 35 countries spent Thanksgiving weekend with Paris area families. Sir Harold Evans wrote about his experience as a 1956 guest in the September 2007 issue of Conde Nast Traveler.
1957 Newly constructed Memorial Elementary School welcomed its first students in August. The school was named in honor of all teachers and board members with 25 years or more in District 95; a plaque near the office displays those names.
1959 Plans were announced to demolish the Iron Lantern Hotel on North Main to build a service station. The hotel was originally built as the town's first hospital in the 1890s.
A two-day sidewalk sales event around the square on a June weekend started a fifty-plus year tradition that includes the annual Shrine barbecue and parade.
1960 Zenith begins manufacturing in Paris, first in a temporary location on West Court Street and then at the factory on Grandview Street.
1961 The old six-stall roundhouse, built in 1911, at Midland Freight Yards is torn down in June. In September, Windbreaker-Danville opened a plant on West Court St. in the old Bibo garage building vacated by Zenith.
1964 Paris High School principal John P. Allen and two cheerleaders, Marni Lutz and Paulette Brooks, were killed in a head-on collision returning from the final basketball game of the season. A memorial erected by the Class of 1964 stands at the northwest corner of Eveland Gym.
1965-1969 Paris native Barbara Stuart (Barbara McNeese) had a recurring role as "Bunny" in the television series Gomer Pyle, USMC.
1971 City hall moved to the remodeled W.S. Logan Lumber Co. building and police & fire station moved to a new building on Washington St. The old city site became Vance Park.
1972 Four downtown buildings on North Main, including the vacant Kern Hotel, were severely damaged or destroyed in a mid-January fire. Firefighting efforts in the subzero temperatures left the buildings encrusted in layers of ice.
1973 Paris High School band marched in the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C.
1977 Lena Arthur bequeathed her family home to Edgar County Historical Society. The museum was opened in 1978; ten years later, the annex that houses Edgar County Genealogy Library was built. The Arthur House, built in 1876 by Henry Clay Moss, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
1978 The "blizzard of the century" on January 25 brought 12 inches of snow, near zero temperatures, and winds of 50+ mph, closing schools, businesses, roads, and all but emergency services for the next two days.
1979 PEDCO formed after Zenith's announcement that it is phasing out manufacturing at the Paris facility
1981 First Honeybee Festival
1982 A tower, the railroad switching center east of Midland Yard, closed after 80 years of operation. (Beacon-News, Jan. 6, 1990)
1986 A Twin Lakes Park landmark was sold at auction. The carousel, built around 1919 by Allen Herschell, had been a popular fixture in the park since the early 1930s.
1993 The state opened Ed Jenison Work Camp north of Paris. The correctional facility was closed by budget cuts in 2002. Ownership was transferred to the city in 2008.
2001 A bequest from Maude Schwartz provided the location of Schwartz Park, known for its gazebo and walking path.
2006 After a temporary stop on Washington Street, City Hall moved into the remodeled former First Bank building.
2008 On November 4, voters in Paris District 95 and Crestwood Unit 4 approved the creation of a cooperative high school, the first in the state of Illinois.
2009 Simonton Windows and Paris were featured in the Sept. 28 cover story of USA Today newspaper.
2010 The last full-service gas station in Paris was torn down in May to make room for a new CVS store. Ray's Super Station sold gas from 1957 through 2009. On June 29, Chrisman's Frostop, the last drive-in in the county, was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt by the end of the year.
Singer Brett Eldredge opened his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry with "Signs", a song with references to his hometown of Paris, Illinois.
2011 AMC closed the Paris Theatre on Feb. 6, but the theater re-opened under new ownership in December.