If you don’t know who Louise Hagood is, you should.
Hagood has been an ardent supporter of the city of Paris since she married a fifth-generation native Lamar Countian, Thomas M. Hagood, and became a resident herself. A longtime history teacher at Paris High School, Hagood was the sponsor of the first integrated senior class at PHS, the Class of 1967, and shared her memories of those days with the readers of The Paris News a few months ago, when PISD noted the 50th anniversary of desegregation. She maintains correspondence with, and has been visited by, many of her former students over the years.
In 2002, Hagood served on the committee that rewrote the city’s charter. She has served on the airport advisory board and the historic preservation committee. She is a font of information about the city and its historic downtown.
In the past few years, Hagood has been instrumental in getting a number of state historical markers placed in the city, including the historical marker downtown in tribute to the 1916 fire, one on the grounds of Central Presbyterian Church and a marker noting the location of Paris’ Farmers and Merchants cotton gin near the current location of the Lamar County Jail and Sheriff’s Office.
The most unique contribution Hagood and her family has made to the historical landscape of Paris is the donation of a 15-foot street clock on the southeast corner of the Plaza.
Hagood’s husband, before his death in 2008, often reminisced about the free-standing clock that dominated the downtown square for many years before it was removed in 1942. After his death, Hagood continued his efforts to get a clock back on the square, and in 2011 the city formally accepted and dedicated the clock in his memory.
Since then, Hagood has been recognized by the city by being named parade marshal of the 2014 Paris Christmas Parade and has continued her volunteer efforts on behalf of the historic and artistic community of Paris, such as lending her name and financial support to a number of productions staged at Paris Community Theatre, which is housed in the historic Plaza Theater on the Square.
Recently, Hagood sent a clipping to the editorial department at The Paris News, from the Cincinnatti Enquirer in Ohio, detailing the history of the Verdin Co. in that city. Verdin built the clock bearing her husband’s name, along with hundreds of thousands of clocks, chimes, bells, musical instruments and glockenspiels around the world. It is an interesting read and tells the story of a family-owned company that has been in business for six generations, more than 175 years.
That is about as long as the city of Paris has been around.
Sally Boswell is a staff writer for The Paris News.