Parks of Paris Illinois

Please visit the Parks Department page for information on park hours, concession hours, camping fees and boat licenses.

Twin Lakes

The city’s oldest and principal recreation center is Twin Lakes Park, the development of which began back in 1895, when the dam impounding Paris’ first reservoir was completed. West lake reservoir was constructed in 1895. Those were the days of the gay nineties and of the Paris Fishing and Boating Club, directed by the late Charles P. Hitch, who, even before the turn of the century, made Reservoir Park, as it was then called, a widely known pleasure resort. Charles P. Hitch was the publisher and owner of the Beacon newspaper. He was also active in state politics.

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Twin Lakes – East Docks

The first two boats were steam propelled and named “City of Paris” (the larger one) and the “Mary Martha.” The “Mary Martha” was owned by Charles P. Hitch, and was named after his granddaughter. The boats were usually operated on Sundays and holidays between a dock near the present pumping station and a dock just east of the railroad bridge and near the log house at the west end of the lake.

Much later after the Paris Fishing and Boating Club was disbanded, an electrically propelled large flat bottomed boat was built by the McGuire-Cummins Car Factory (where Midwest is now located) and given to th city and named for C.T. Biddison, who was the manager of the car factory and was instrumental in obtaining the gift from his company.

Twin Lakes Timeline

October 25, 1895

When the reservoir was completed and the standpipe erected on what is now Sylvian Park, the Paris Beacon felt that the surrounding area at Reservoir Park could be made into an attractive park area.

December 27, 1895

The Paris Beacon offered a year’s subscription to the winner of a contest to name the new dam and reservoir.

December 28, 1895

In this issue of the Paris Beacon, were pictured sketches of the dam and lake, looking west, the powerhouse and a view looking west from the first bend of the lake. Three large tablets were placed on the face of the dam, listing the Councilman and the Mayor and others who had to do with the construction.

January 3, 1896

Over 600 persons had signed their names to a petition circulated by Alderman Granville Cretors asking that the new water supply system and surrounding land be named “Alexander Park and Lake” for the late Colonel J. W. S. Alexander, who lost his life in the Civil War and was a pioneer of Paris.

Jan. 7, 1896

The Paris Council chose “Reservoir” and “Reservoir Park” for the development north of Paris, and 200 shade trees had been ordered to be placed in the new park. The trees were planted on Arbor Day.

April 16, 1897

Plans were made for the erection of a bandstand, a dancing pavilion, new gravel walks at the west part of Reservoir Park, west of the railroad bridge. During an extended drought several years later this first reservoir with a capacity of 200 million gallons, the chief source of Paris’ water supply, became almost dry and a serious water famine threatened. Then it was that another dam was built and additional water impounded in a second reservoir, (which will be referred to later) to the east of the first reservoir.

Mrs. Amelia Johnson remembers as a child, that she planted many trees in Reservoir Park. The schoolchildren in the late 1800’s, planted trees all over Reservoir Park. Each child placed a glass jar with his name around the roots of the trees. How interesting it would be today to locate some of those glass jars and find out who planted the trees.

Approx 1916

East Lake Reservoir was constructed about 1916, with a capacity of about 200 million gallons. It was about this time that the park and lake area became known as Twin Lakes Park.

A dancing pavilion was located on the south bank of West Lake where the first bayou flows into the lake west of the railroad.

June 1920

Sunday dancing was prohibited at the park.

A 20-mile speed limit was placed on the roads through the park.

May 15, 1923

The State Game and Fish Commission officially designated the lake as a fish pre¬serve.

Year of 1928

The last year for streetcars in Paris. The streetcars used to run down Main Street to the park.

Due to lack of funds, the City of Paris decided to lease a portion of the park, which lies west of the right of way of the CCC & St. L. RR Co., south of the lake, leased for the purpose of maintaining a Boy Scout and Girl Scout Community Camp. The first lease began May 10, 1928, and terminated May 10, 1938. The lease has been extended as the Boy and Girl Scouts are using that area today. The city shall not permit the sale of intoxicating liquor or permit the establishment of any gambling devices.

December 19, 1932

Commissioner Bridgman moved the passage of a resolution that all automobiles be prohibited from driving on the ice of either or both of the lakes at Twin Lakes Park due to the danger involved. Resolution was adopted.

June 4, 1934

An ordinance to prohibit the use of powerboats on the East Lake of Twin Lakes was passed.

Back in the depression years of the early thirties, a group of citizens, headed by U. Rae Colson, met with a dual purpose in view — to provide work for the unemployed of that period and to further develop Twin Lakes Park. The original plan was to raise $5000.00. So successful was the meeting that $10,000.00 was subscribed providing work for a force of 75 men during the summer months of one year. Drives and walks were constructed, needed fills made, shrubbery cleaned out, and general cleaning of the park area.

The supervising of the construction of drives and land fills was under the supervision of the city and the Garden Department of the Women’s Club. Landscaping was provided by the Garden Department Committee headed by Miss Kathryn Bishop and Mrs. Paxson Link.

Year of 1943

An elaborate American Colonial type curved entrance to Twin Lakes Park was erected at a cost of $6000.00. The expense was borne by Max B. Wilson. The two main pilasters, 18 feet high, on each side of the entrance, numerous smaller pilasters and the brick wall are capped with Indiana limestone. Williamsburg hand wrought lanterns decorate the front of the two main pilasters.

The inscription on the plaque on the left pilaster as you enter the park reads “Twin Lakes Park 1895.”

The inscription on the plaque on the right pilaster as you enter the park reads “This park entrance was erected in 1943 as a gift of Max B. Wilson in memory of his wife Emma and his son Dudley.”

Year of 1954

An extreme drought occurred in 1954 with the result that the water supply was almost exhausted. East Lake became dry and the volume of storage in West Lake was reduced to about 6 million gallons.

The southern part of Illinois suffered an unusually severe drought and Paris, along with some other southern Illinois cities, experienced an extreme shortage in water supply. It was necessary to restrict the use of water and, even with rigorous restrictions, the supply was inadequate. In an effort to supplement the lake supply, the city drilled five wells, which were capable of producing about 360.000 gallons of water per day, but the mineral quality of the water was inferior and the use of the wells was abandoned as soon as it was possible.

Winter rains of 1954-55 broke the drought and there was sufficient replenishment of the reservoirs in January and February of 1955 to completely refill West Lake by March 1st and East Lake by March 26, 1955.

Year of 1961

The new “third lake” that was completed in 1961 has given assurance that adequate water will be available for Paris.

Statistics show that such a drought as occurred in Paris has a frequency of about once in 70 years, and therefore, it was a rare occurrence. 1954-55 would be called a 95 percent dry year, meaning that the water supply requirements for such a year would be adequate in 95 years out of a hundred and conversely would be less than adequate in only 5 years out of a hundred.

The water area in Twin Lakes Park is as follows:

  • West Lake area is approximately 60 acres
  • East Lake and “third lake” area are approximately 163 acres

Total of 223 acres of water area.

The facilities of Twin Lakes Park include:

  • Large shelter house
  • Miniature golf course
  • Picnic areas – plenty of picnic tables and Benches
  • Professional league baseball diamond
  • Lighted horseshoe courts
  • West Lake Boy and Girl Scout Camp

The most recent addition to Twin Lakes Park is the trailer park adjacent to the baseball diamond. It contains trailer spaces with electrical hookups, self-standing barbecues, picnic tables, refuse removal and a bathhouse containing water, shower and restroom facilities.

Laker Stadium

Blackhawk Park

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Blackhawk Park

Blackhawk Park is approximately 10 acres used as a Scouting area and fishing area. It is a primitive naturalistic setting with many scenic trails and natural walkways. Parking available during park hours only.

Kiwanis Memorial Park

Kiwanis Memorial Park is a 5-acre park located on North Highway 1. It contains a memorial to Veterans who perished in WWI, WWII, Vietnam War and the Gulf Wars. The park has swings and playground equipment.

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Kiwanis Memorial Park

A “Lest We Forget War Memorial” is erected on the park grounds in the center with the inscription: Lest We Forget War Memorial World War I & II In Memory of Those Who Gave Their Lives From Edgar County World War I & II and a list of the names of those who died.

On either side of the War Memorial, two guns are situated, Mechanism, Recoil, 3-inch, M9A1, Rock Island Arsenal 1944.

The land comprising this park was owned by the City of Paris, prior to the im¬provements, continues to be the property of the City of Paris under control of the Paris Park Board, and it joins other land around the Twin Lakes. The Paris Park Board maintains this park and it is part of the Paris Park System. This park was previously part of Reservoir Park.

Formal dedication of the park occurred November 8th, 1948. The Mayor and City Council were present to watch the unveiling of the monument to the war dead of Edgar County.

Samuel Vance Park

Vance_Park
Vance Park

Located near City Hall on Central Avenue and Washington Street, Vance Park is a small beautiful corner park with trees, a sunken garden and a white stone water fountain made from three lion heads.

Schwartz Park

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Schwartz Park

Located on Wood Street Schwartz Park is a beautiful one-acre wooded park with a gazebo, gardens and a man-made brick walkway circling the inside of the park. For those interesting in walking the park, 4-to-5 laps equals a mile.

Sunrise Park

Located at the corner of Edgar and High Streets, Sunrise Park is a 6-acre park developed as a recreational area with playground equipment, ball diamond, basketball court, picnic facilities and an attractively landscaped beauty area with park benches and a wading pool for children.

Sunrise_Park
Sunrise Park

The land is owned by Paris Township. During 1944, the Paris Park Board requested and executed a 99-year lease on the property. During 1944, Mr. Hershel B. O’Hair, agreed to finance the development of the park. The site of the park was formerly a gravel pit. The City of Paris hauled out gravel pit until it became a deep hole and pit, many feet below the street level. After the gravel supply was exhausted, it was used for a city dump. As the park was being developed, hundreds of loads of dirt from the diggings of the City Diversion Channel were brought to the park site to fill in the pit.

Sunrise Park is located at the corner of Edgar and High Streets. The park is comprised of approximately six acres. The park has a public playground and picnic area. A baseball diamond and swimming pool for youth under twelve years of age.

There are many unusual and rare trees in Sunrise Park: A favorite tree of George Washington is in the park, named Sarvistree, it is a flowering plum tree; the snowy white Sarvistree is the earliest to flower. It is a dazzling cloud-like tree, which becomes alive with thousands of lovely fleecy white blooms for weeks in early spring. Then it becomes a green tree in summer and turns to a firey orange in early autumn. There are many Sarvistrees at Mt. Vernon and as the old trees die, they are replaced with new Sarvistrees.

If it had not been for the foresight of Mr. Hershel B. O’Hair, and the continuing interest of his son, Mr. Karl R. O’Hair, in Sunrise Park, it might have remained as a gravel pit, dump or housing area now. The people of Paris and Edgar County are indeed grateful to the O’Hairs for such a beautiful park.

Sunrise Park has the Fringe tree, a favorite tree of Thomas Jefferson. This tree was imported into this country by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, in Central Virginia. The Fringe tree has white blossoms in the spring and it turns to a golden color in the fall.

Mr. Hershel B. O’Hair, deceased, as well as his son, Karl R. O’Hair, both have the goal of planting trees in the park that had never before been planted in Edgar County. Sunrise Park is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful parks of its size in the State of Illinois and the midwest.

Of course, the common trees of Edgar County are there: Pin Oaks, Sugar Maples, Golden Leaf Sweet Gum, Colorado Blue Spruce and Douglas Fir.

The favorite tree of Mr. Karl R. O’Hair, is the Japanese “Cherry Bark Maple.” It has cherry color bark and is a deep green tree and turns to a bright maroon color in the fall.

Some of the other trees in Sunrise Park are:

  • Golden Desert Ash; it is a golden color beginning September 1st until the first frost. Golden Sweet Gum trees are shipped here from Oregon. Golden Barberry shrub which is golden color all during the sum¬mer. Chinese Dogwood tree blooms in June, instead of many other trees which bloom in April. Tn-Colored Beech tree; during the season, it is red, green, then brown. Fern Leaf Beech trees have a gray bark. Korean Mountain Ash; imported from Korea; turns gold color in the fall. Bradford Ornamental Pear; it is a flowering pear, white flower in the spring and green foliage in the summer, changes to bright maroon in the fall.
  • There are five oak trees in the park which were there originally. These trees are over 100 years old.
  • Washington Hawthorn tree is covered with white blooms in the spring, red berries in the fall and most of the winter, which provides excellent food for the birds.

Other trees in the park are Lilly of Valley, Mountain Maple, Flowering Scanlon cherry, which is a cross between a wild cherry and Japanese cherry tree. There are two rare Chinese Ginkgo trees. This tree is a picturesque branched prehistoric tree from China. The Ginkgo tree has unique fan-shaped green leaves which turn golden color in autumn. The tree has round fruit kernels, which are eaten by the Chinese.

There are many other trees and shrubs and Mr. Karl R. O’Hair, is continuously adding unusual trees and shrubs to the park, which are not native to Edgar County. He has on order 2 Colorado Aspen trees to be planted in the park in the spring of 1974; the first to be planted in Edgar County.

Present facilities and equipment in Sunrise Park include:

  • A large grassy area with softball diamond
  • Small storage building including restrooms
  • 1 turfed basketball court
  • 12 large swing seats
  • 6 children’s bucket-type swing seats
  • 12 teeters
  • 2 merry-go-rounds
  • 2 slides
  • 2 giant strides
  • 2 water fountains
  • 1 Sandbox
  • 1 barbecue stove
  • 1 bicycle rack
  • 1 flagpole

Near the wading pool, there is a plaque, inscribed as follows: “In Memory of Hershel B. O’Hair 1862-1945 who sponsored and generously provided the funds for the development of Sunrise Park 1945.”

If it had not been for the foresight of Mr. Hershel B. O’Hair, and the continuing interest of his son, Mr. Karl R. O’Hair, in Sunrise Park, it might have remained as a gravel pit, dump or housing area now. The people of Paris and Edgar County are indeed grateful to the O’Hairs for such a beautiful park.

Sunset Park

Located at West End Avenue and Andrew Street, Sunset Park is a 6-acre park with limited playground equipment, soccer field, basketball court, and picnic facilities. Sunset Park is well landscaped and has a very attractive area for picnics and passive enjoyment.

Sunset Park
Sunset Park

On December 14th, 1942, Horace Link, Paxson Link and Dick Link, purchased the land now comprising Sunset Park and deeded it to the City of Paris. Also, the above donors gave the needed funds to fill the area and landscape it and to purchase play equip¬ment for the park, bringing it to its present condition.

  • The park is to be used solely and only for park and public recreational purposes. No admission is to be charged any time for any purpose.
  • That said park shall never be used for professional carnivals, fairs, shows or any kind of professional entertainment for private profit.
  • That the park shall not at any time be used or suffered to be used for the manufacture, sale or disposal of liquors, drinks or other beverages, nor shall a saloon be kept thereon, nor a building in which any person whomsoever, shall vend, sell, deal or traffic in any liquors, drinks or beverages.
  • The park is to be under the jurisdiction of the Paris Park Board.
  • Three additional persons living in the vicinity of Sunset Park shall be appointed to the Paris Park Board.

If any of the conditions are broken, the land reverts to the Link family or their heirs. A plaque has been placed on a stone in the southeast area of the park with the in¬scription:

“Sunset Park 1942. This Park Was Given To The City of Paris by Horace Link, Paxson Link and Dick Link.””

Equipment in Sunset Park includes the following:

  • A wading pool
  • 2 shuffleboard courts
  • 1 giant checkerboard hopscotch
  • 1 turf basketball court
  • 1 baseball diamond
  • 12 large swings
  • 7 teeters
  • 2 merry-go-rounds
  • 6 bucket type swings
  • 2 large slides
  • 1 giant stride
  • 1 water fountain
  • 1 flagpole
  • 6 park benches
  • 6 picnic tables
  • 1 storage room
  • 2 bicycle racks
  • 1 shelter house 21 ft. by 42 ft.

The people of Paris and Edgar County deeply appreciate the generosity of the Links in establishing Sunset Park. Sunset Park has the room for expansion of many recreational activities.

Sylvian Park

Sylvian Park is located at the corner of Jasper Street and Highway 1. The park is over 2 acres with playground equipment and play area.

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Sylvan Park

In the fall of 1921, at the intersections of Jasper Street, South Main Street and South Marshall Street, a park was opened and it was a prideful improvement for that area. The area was originally a part of a pond that was on the Redmon farm.

In the Edgar County Court Record on December 12th, 1878, the City of Paris initiated a petition to condemn the land as it was required for water works purposes. Each of the Redmon’s: Georgina Redmon, Ora B. Redmon, George W. Redmon, Jr., and William G. Redmon, received compensation of $761.50 each for their share of the real estate or a total of $3046.00, for the three acres.

At one time, it was the source of water supply for the City of Paris. It had been used by the city for a water reservoir.

Paris is indeed grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Sholem for Sylvian Park. Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Sholem, gave the city $2000.00 to landscape the park, and sub¬sequently gave additional funds for im¬provements in the park. It was to be named Sylvian Park, named after his son, Sylvian Sholem. In October 1921, the name “Sylvian” was received for the park, with a stipulation that it was to be retained as a name by the city, so long as the use of the land was for park purposes.

The City Council on June 22nd, 1921, authorized the construction of a sidewalk around the park at a cost of $694.84. The City Council on July 5th, 1921, authorized construction of a sanitary sewer in Sylvian Park.

Sylvian Park is primarily a park for passive enjoyment. It is well landscaped with beautiful trees and shrubs. The park has two large tulip beds with 250 bulbs in each bed.

Water TowerA large corner of the northeastern part of the park provides the site for the city water tower. A one-half million-gallon water tower. The water tower preceding the present tower had a capacity of 100,000 gallons.

The park is lighted at night with 12 globe type lights at the entrances.

Equipment in the park includes:

  • 6 large swings
  • 6 bucket seat swings
  • 6 teeters
  • 1 water hydrant
  • 1 water fountain
  • 1 flagpole
  • 1 bicycle rack
  • 3 picnic tables
  • 24 park benches
  • 1 storage room

Paris is indeed grateful to Mr and Mrs. Maurice Sholem for Sylvian Park.

An Interesting Story

The following interesting story about Reservoir Park was published by the Commercial Club of Paris, Illinois, 1903-1904:

“Reservoir Park, comprising the grounds adjoining the city reservoir, one mile north of the city, is without exception, the finest pleasure resort within a radius of one hundred miles. Although open to the public only a few years, it has already become the Mecca of summer pleasure seekers throughout a large section of Illinois and Indiana.

For a place of rest and recreation, it is unrivaled. The lake, covering an area of sixty-six acres (as of 1904) abounds in black bass and other game fish. Bass weighing as much as six pounds have been caught. An average weight of four pounds is altogether common. Row boats are to be had at a reasonable rental-rate, while a steam-boat and a naphtha launch with a combined capacity of 175 passengers ply the lake on all occasions.

The park grounds, encircling the lake, are of ample extent and furnish an ideal place for camping, parties, and picnics. They are covered with a natural growth of forest, with trees, which are picturesque in the extreme, being interspersed with romantic glades and glens, hills, and ravines, where ferns and flowers grow wild and refreshing mineral springs flow perpetually.

The park is well supplied with swings and merry-go-rounds, dining halls and dancing pavilion, which are available at all times.

Reservoir Park is reached from the city by the C.V.C. railway, and two wagon roads. A street-car line, connecting it with the city, will also be in operation in the near future.

A summer Chautauqua will be held in the park in August 1904, and annually thereafter, some of the best talent in the country having been already engaged.” That is the end of the Paris Commercial Clubs story.”

In West Park, presently the Boy and Girls Scout Camp, between 1910 and 1920, wooden-pegs could be found in some of the trees where the Indian squaws hung their papooses. The Indians were of the Kickapoo tribe. Some of the children of the Means family used to play with the Indian children. In the early days the walking paths were neat, and the woods were clean and well kept. In the beginning, the virgin forest was a beautiful wooded area. At one time in the park, there was a spring and springhouse, with seats and canopy top. There were 2 springs in the northwest part of West Park, one was a clear spring and one that the Indians used. It is said the Indians used the one with mineral water.

Miss Elizabeth Huston, now living in Paris, remembers spending summers in a cottage located on land adjoining the west park (just east of the railroad bridge). She remembers that in the same area Dr. W. A. Buchanan built a beautiful log cabin on a point nearer the lakefront. The Buchanans would from time to time have groups of their friends visit and spend many happy vacations in this cabin. The cabin still stands today, and is used as a private home. Getting back to the Chautauqua again, Miss Huston remembers attending the Chautauqua, which was held in the West Park. Special trains carried passengers from the Paris railway station to the West Park. A picture on the back cover of the Paris Chautauqua program for 1905 shows the disembarking of passengers entering the Chautauqua grounds.

Mr. Emil Taflinger of Paris remembers the early ice business and relates the following information:

“It may be difficult for people of today to think that some of us still living, remember days when there were no electric refrigerators, and that ice used to keep food from spoiling, was obtained from the first lake that furnished sprinkling water to the town of Paris.

One day after school, a group of us went out to the lake, for we had heard they were cutting ice, and we wanted to see it. It was very cold after several nights of sub-zero weather and the ice was real thick and per¬fect to cut. It was frozen solid and clear and it was a good eighteen inches or more thick.

We arrived at the icehouse just as they had chipped a hole in the ice with an axe. It was large enough to place the ice saw, a man was sawing in a straight line, and he did not stop until he went some twenty or more feet. Then he removed the saw, went back to the hole, and sawed another line eighteen inches to one side and he sawed it in a parallel line to the original. Then he sawed it into chunks about three feet long. These were pulled out on the ice and slid over to scaffolding. A hook would descend on a rope and the piece was hoisted to the platform at the top and then lowered into the large elevator like storage house where it was buried in sawdust alongside similar chunks of ice. This kept the air away and the ice would not melt while it was stored. The icehouse was on the north bank across from where the present amusement park now is located. The scaffolding made an ideal place to climb up above the lake and to dive in for a swim. We did that on many occasions.

When summer-time came, the ice wagons began making daily delivery of the ice all over the town. It was a familiar scene to see the wagon being followed by boys and girls who hoped to get small pieces of ice as the large chunk was cut into smaller pieces at each stop. The iceman kept an alert to discover the ice card hanging from a customer’s porch. One side of a card stated 25, and the other three sides had the numerals, 50, 75, and 100. That told him how big a piece of ice to deliver. When he would place his delivery in an icebox on the customer’s porch, or in a kitchen, he would bring his tongs back to hang in their place alongside the scale he used to weigh the ice pieces. He would have to shoo the children away but by the time he got in his wagon, there would be some bold ones hop on for the ride and to save running to the next house. An accident happened when a boy fell and got hurt and city authorities discouraged the practice. They were never entirely successful.

During some winters, there was no extremely cold weather and in those years, only the wealthiest families could afford ice that was shipped in from a distance. People always were glad to have one “cold-snap” as they said, for then they would be able to buy the cheaper home cut ice from our lake.

When the electric refrigerators came along, the Paris Ice Company gradually reached the place where it could not continue.”

Mr. Emil Taflinger also relates this interesting story about the SINKING OF THE LUISITANIA OR THE SHIP THAT WOULD NOT SINK.

“The Fire Works Factory was west of the C. V. and C. Railroad on the north bank across from the Park. An Italian family, experts in their business, ran the going concern for a span of years. They shipped their products to far places, but Paris was one of their best customers. With the band giving a concert each Thursday night during the season, and that being followed with the fire-works was enough to make a gala event to bring thousands of people to the Court House Square. The band played one week on one corner and moved to the other corners consecutively each week for the customers who flocked in for refreshments, to the door that was open on that particular corner. The fireworks displays were magnificent and the Paris Band was the pride of our town.

No better fireworks anywhere, and those who witnessed, still remember.

At picnics and celebrations at the Park, there was usually a display of fireworks. The family always attended to the firing and everything about the performance went “just like clock-work.” It was interesting to watch the man with the torch, as he went about the field to light each fuse at the right time to keep the show going with true professional timing.”

Mr. Taflinger states that he never missed any of the fireworks displays, but there was one that never went according to the advertising. It had been history that the United States was being drawn into THE WAR for the Lusitania had gone down in the Atlantic. Right with perfect timing, it was advertised everywhere that the Lusitania would be sunk by fire works at the Lagoon just west of the dance pavilion at West Park. A structure extended from the bank where thousands watched. It ex¬tended almost over to the other bank of the bayou, not exactly a ship, but certainly a framework of one was there, ready for the bombardment. Giant crackers and ex¬plosives, high and low, were tied everywhere and once the fuse was lighted, there would be no end until the Lusitania would be completely blown to bits and went to the bottom. Blast after blast shook the Lusitania and jarred the earth and every¬thing and everybody on it for a great dis¬tance. The smoke thickened and the bom¬bardment gathered in momentum until it was a dense atmosphere of noise and smoke and the smell of gunpowder. Finally, after the most terrific of the blasts, a small firecracker went “pip” and all was quiet. Like the flag on Old Fort Sumpter, the ship was still there, battered but unsunk!”

Eventually, the Fireworks Factory was destroyed. Mr. Taflinger, as well as many other Paris residents, remembers being awakened by loud explosions one night and after several hours the fireworks factory was blown to bits and burned. It was never rebuilt after that fire. Explosions sounded for many hours during the catastrophe.

For the record, the cost of the Shelter House at Twin Lakes Park was paid by public subscription and named Spicer Shelter. Mr. Ray Spicer was the largest contributor, having donated $5000.00. Prior to his death in 1950, he was President of the Paris Park Board.

A plaque was erected on the Spicer Shelter in 1954, with the in¬scription: SPICER SHELTER DEDICATED 1954

The plaque included the names of the members of the Paris Park Board at that time.

Mr. Arden Pratt, Earl Pratt and Miss Elizabeth Huston of Paris remember visiting a small zoo in the park. The zoo had ostriches, six prairie dogs, goats, raccoons, one big black bear, one small bear and monkeys. The Zoo Manager was C. E. Pier¬son, who was also the Game Warden.

Balloon ascensions were held on the Fourth of July and other holidays from the West Park area. Mr. Carl Stacy of the Paris Park Board remembers the balloon would ascend and the operator then would jump out in a parachute, sometimes he would land in the park and sometimes he would land in the lake.

Miss Elizabeth Huston remembers swimming in the lake with moss floating around and with being covered with leeches and moss. (Where was the Environmental Protection Agency in those days? How did the people survive with so much pollution? Very well)

Mrs. Frank Meehling of Marshall, Illinois, remembers when she was a small girl in the first or second grade at St. Mary’s school in Paris (Mrs. Meehling was born near Redmon in 1898) and she had gone for a surrey ride with a family of a playmate. We were supposed to be riding on the lake bottom. It was hard, dry and cracked, and which lake it was, was undoubtedly Reservoir Park lake bottom. Mr. Paxson Link also remembers riding a horse across the lake bottom a couple of times.