Paris Historical Museum

Posted - Sep. 25, 2003 at 8:00 a.m.



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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

It would be a historical moment indeed if you lived in two different states at the same time and did not know it! Well, it just so happens that the early settlers of Paris, Idaho did just that. Paris was founded on Sept. 26, 1863 when 13 wagons brought 30 families of Mormon Pioneers into the Bear Lake Valley. It now ranks as the second oldest town in Idaho. The settlers thought they were settling in Utah, but it wasn't until the U.S. Geological Survey was completed for the area in 1872 that the settlers learned they were really in the State of Idaho and in debt to the state for the taxes they had been paying to Utah!

More than one century later, the citizens of Paris decided to open a historical museum to preserve the memory of the early settlers and those that came after. Paris City donated the old city hall to house the museum, offering to pay utilities. Local citizens donated articles from their barns and attics to display, and museum supporters gave up a lot of their own money. Finally, on May 25, 1989, the museum opened, displaying an American flag that once flew over the White House.

The museum has a number of displays including pioneer artifacts, pictures of servicemen and women who served in both world wars, and a whole panel board depicting most of the original houses there in Paris.

Elaine Webb, one of the many museum volunteers, as well as a board member, told me the museum is important to the Paris community because it portrays the history of those who came here to live a better life and reminds people of the easy life we now live.

The pioneer artifacts are not the only things in the museum that are considered old. Each winter the weight of the snow causes the middle of the roof to sag. Since the roof won't last another winter and since the are no external funds available, the museum is raising money for the "Friends of the Paris Museum" fund to help repair the roof.

Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 15, Paris, ID 83261.

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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