- Real Estate
- Paris Flash
The Paris City Council voted unanimously Monday to allow the Valley of the Caddo Museum to move into the city-owned depot at 1125 Bonham St., a space used in recent years as a transportation museum.
The city staff was instructed to prepare a lease agreement and bring it back for the council’s approval.
The museum would be in the north-most area of the depot, adjacent to offices of the Paris Economic Development Corporation.
“We’re looking for a temporary site – perhaps for a few years,” Dr. Phillip Bandel, president of the Valley of the Caddo Museum board, told the council. Members of the museum board accompanied him.
Bandel noted that the board came to the council several months ago inquiring about possibly putting up a structure on Clarksville Street and South Collegiate Drive, west of the Police Station and Courts Building.
“We found that that property was in a flood plain, so we decided not to pursue that,” he said.
Interim City Manager Gene Anderson told the council that when the old Santa Fe Frisco Railroad Depot underwent extensive renovation “some years ago,” it was a requirement that a portion of the building be used as a transportation museum.
“It is my understanding that the requirement to maintain that museum has expired. You could either continue to use that space for that, or we do have the alternative to use it for something else,” Anderson said.
“I’d like to say that I completely favor the idea, at a very low cost, like a dollar or something, with the museum being responsible for the electricity and whatever else the expenses for that are,” Mayor AJ Hashmi said.
“It would be a very good use for the building, and it will contribute to the neighborhood,” the mayor said.
Bandel noted that archaeological digs on the Gene Stallings‘ ranch 10 miles north of Paris have produced “very interesting artifacts dating back 5,000 years” for both the Caddo Indians and the Fourche Maline Indians.
“Many others in the area have collected arrowheads and pottery and things of that nature on their property, and various ones would be willing to share their artifacts with the museum,” Bandel said.
Digs on the 600-acre Stallings ranch on a knoll overlooking the Pine Creek flood plain turned up hundreds of artifacts including pottery, lithic debris, fire-cracked rock, burned and unburned animal bone, ground stone tools, and numerous darts and arrowheads.
For most of the past decade, an effort has been under way to locate a facility in Paris that would focus on the history of the Caddo Indians in Northeast Texas along the Red River.
For years, the late State District Judge Jim Dick Lovett promoted a center that would honor the Caddo Indian heritage in this area.
He envisioned a complex, complete with an observatory, possibly solar-powered, and a huge aquarium — “large enough to support having divers go into the tank to do whatever is necessary.”
“We want to put on educational shows and informational sessions,” Lovett said.
Fundraising efforts to build a $10 million center on land owned by Paris Junior College and near Love Civic Center stalled several years ago.
Lovett envisioned a magnificent structure that would honor the Caddo Nation, housing everything from ancient pottery to the plant and animal life found in Lamar, Delta, Fannin and Red River counties during that era.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra