The Suitcase Lady


May 8, 2018, 9:05 pm

In case you missed seeing “April in Paris” this year, here is a report. I was in Paris this April. Unfortunately, it was not THE Paris, but Paris, Illinois, population 8,837. The Illinois Paris is 165 miles south of Chicago in the heart of the prairie. Like so many other towns in rural America, it is long past its glory days, but evidence of grander, wealthier, more hopeful times can still be seen.

Since Paris is a county seat, it has a courthouse set squarely in the center of town. It’s an architectural jewel. The people who constructed this elegant building between 1891 and 1893 must have been filled with civic pride, a phrase unknown to many Americans now. They also must of had ample tax dollars to spend.

I love taking road trips and seeing our country’s past lurking in historic buildings such as this one. And when I was in Paris, I wondered how many other places in rural America are named Paris. A bit of computer research supplied the answer. You could visit 23 different Parises in 19 states. This includes cities, towns, townships and unincorporated communities. My home state, Wisconsin, has two, a town and a township.

Paris, Texas, is the second largest Paris in the world. The folks there built a wooden replica of the Eiffel Tower topped with a red Stetson cowboy hat. Unfortunately, a tornado blew it all away. A steel replacement was made, however, a rival Paris in Tennessee built a higher one. Paris, Tennessee also prides itself on having the world’s biggest fish fry. Now if that were the world’s largest crepe cook off, I would be hitting the road.



1 Comment for this entry

  • eve robillard

    Mary–Very interesting. Great photos & information.
    yer pal,
    ps: you know what town i was born in don’t you? they also have a stately old stone courthouse. unfortunately some years ago they built an addition–a new back entrance, perhaps–and it looks horrible! no respect for the integrity of the building . . . it’s hard to believe they could’ve been so . . . whatever . . .