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Paris is a town in and the county seat of Oxford Countymarker, Mainemarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 4,793 at the 2000 census. The census-designated place of South Parismarker is located within the town. Because the U.S. Post Office refers to the entire town as South Paris, the town as a whole is commonly referred to as South Paris. The main exception is the area known as Paris Hill, which is a scenic historic district popular with tourists.

History

It was granted by Massachusetts on June 11, 1771 to Captain Joshua Fuller of Watertown, Massachusettsmarker and 59 others (or their heirs) for service during the French and Indian Wars. It was the second attempt to repay the soldiers, because their first grant in New Hampshiremarker, made on November 24, 1736 and called Township Number Four, was deemed invalid because of a prior claim by the heirs of John Mason. The land in Maine would retain the name Township Number Four.

It was first settled near the center of the town in 1779 by Lemuel Jackson, John Willis and their families. Organized as Number Four Plantation, it was incorporated as Paris on June 20, 1793. At the establishment of Oxford County in 1805, Paris was designated its county seat and developed into a thriving community. It was noted for scenic beauty and excellent pasturage, including some of the state's best livestock and dairy farms. It also had many large apple orchards. Paris Hill is the highest elevation village in the region and probably the state, with views of Mount Chocoruamarker and Mount Washingtonmarker in the White Mountainsmarker. The Paris Hill Historic District, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, has fine examples of Federal and Greek Revival architecture. The old Oxford County Jail, built of granite in 1822, was given in 1902 to the Paris Hill Library Association, and is now the Hamlin Memorial Library and Museum.

The Little Androscoggin Rivermarker provided water power for mills at South Parismarker, to which the town center shifted after the arrival of the Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad on June 8, 1850. Industries included a gristmill, sawmill, shingle mill, planing mill, iron foundry and machine shop. In the 1890s, the county seat moved here from Paris Hill to be near the train station. Manufacturing would fade with the Great Depression, but South Paris remains the commercial part of the town. West Parismarker, which includes North Paris, was set off and incorporated in 1957.

Image:Hamlin Homestead, Paris Hill, ME.jpg|Hamlin House c. 1920Image:Market Square, South Paris, ME.jpg|Market Square c. 1905Image:Paris High School, South Paris, ME.jpg|Old High School in 1907

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 41.0 square miles (106.1 km²), of which, 40.8 square miles (105.6 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (0.49%) is water. Paris is drained by the Little Androscoggin Rivermarker. The town is located on a bed of pegmatite in which many semi-precious gems and rare stones can be found, including beryl, garnet, tourmaline, amethyst and smoky quartz.

Paris is crossed by 26, 117, 118 and 119.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,793 people, 1,975 households, and 1,238 families residing in the town. The population density was 117.6 people per square mile (45.4/km²). There were 2,142 housing units at an average density of 52.5/sq mi (20.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.89% White, 0.31% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.92% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 0.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.35% of the population. 31.2% were of English, 15.0% Americanmarker, 9.9% French, 9.7% Irish and 7.1% Finnish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 1,975 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.8% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the town the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 91.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $33,625, and the median income for a family was $43,166. Males had a median income of $28,235 versus $20,764 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,441. About 4.9% of families and 10.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.7% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.

Sites of interest and National Historic Places



Notable residents

Old Jail at Paris Hill, now the Hamlin Memorial Library & Museum


References

  1. Austin J. Coolidge & John B. Mansfield, A History and Description of New England; Boston, Massachusetts 1859
  2. History of Paris Hill as Oxford County Seat
  3. George J. Varney, History of Paris, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts 1886
  4. Maine.gov -- Paris, Maine


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