A long-awaited Jefferies Wagon Yard historical marker soon will find its rightful place to mark the significance of a vital part of Paris and Lamar County history when the two-acre yard sat north of the present courthouse and marked the entrance to a downtown that saw wagons as the principal mode of commercial transportation.
Lamar County Commissioners’ Court on Monday scheduled the dedication of the Texas Historical Commission marker at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 23 during the Pumpkin Festival.
“Since 1840, the property has been residences, retail, a grist mill and a wagon yard starting about 1892 when wagons, mostly full of cotton, gathered to trade on the Plaza,” Lamar County Historical Commission chairman Suzy Harper said in making a presentation about the yard’s history and the county’s efforts to obtain the historical property. “Then it became useful for car parking and lately it’s useful for parade staging and courthouse parking.
“The restoration of this property dates to 2005 with the restoration of this wonderful courthouse with you commissioners buying pieces of the property until we had the entire entity,” Harper said. “As you may recall, there was a dilapidated barbecue place there with tragic looking sagging electrical lines, and we did not look like a going concern when you were coming into town from the north. Now we look wonderful thanks to all of your hard work.”
In other action at the Monday morning meeting, commissioners nominated Don Biard to serve on the Lamar County Appraisal District board of directors, approved an update of the Lamar County Emergency Disaster Plan, and approved a job description for a newly created human resources and payroll officer. The position, recently under the auspices of the auditor’s office, now reports directly to the court. Commissioners also gave the go ahead to advertise the position, which has an annual salary of $40,699.
Commissioners also approved, certified and budgeted a private donation of $12,000 from a residential housing developer to purchase road materials to upgrade a county road in northwestern Precinct 2 from dirt to gravel.
“The developer is going to be selling lots off the road, and I don’t think taxpayers should be responsible for the purchase of rock to upgrade the road,” Commissioner Lonnie Layton said.