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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Paris in Lamar County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Paris Cotton Compress

 
 
Paris Cotton Compress Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 21, 2016
1. Paris Cotton Compress Marker
Inscription. In the early 1880s, cotton began to dominate Texas agriculture as a principal cash crop, with over two million cultivated acres producing 800,000 bales of cotton per year. With the 1876 arrival of the first railroad line to Paris, local businessmen John Martin, W. B. Wise, and Frank Fitzhugh saw an opportunity to press cotton locally into transportable bales by building a cotton compress located next to the Texas and Pacific Railroad line on what became a twelve-acre complex, the Paris Cotton Compress (variously known as the Transcontinental Compress Company and the Farmers and Merchants Compress Company) opened in 188 and operated for almost 100 years.

In 1884, the owners added a warehouse to the complex. By the 1890s, the Paris compress had two steam presses operating 24 hours a day in season for shipment to domestic and European markets. The compress compacted ginned bales of cotton to a specific density. In 1895, state rules set that density at 22.5 pounds per cubic foot for domestic use. The firm of Martin, Wise, and Fitzhugh became one of the largest cotton buyers in the South, with offices in New York, New Orleans, and Liverpool, England. Operating under various owners and managers over the decades, the business stimulated the local economy, helping to make Paris a thriving regional commercial center.

Production
Former location of the Paris Cotton Compress . image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 21, 2016
2. Former location of the Paris Cotton Compress .
topped out at around 100,000 bales per year in the 1920s. The compress remained viable despite the post World War II decline in local cotton production, until the 1973 cotton boll weevil infestation decimated local crops. In 1978, the compress shut down and in the 1980s, the complex was dismantled.
 
Erected 2014 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 17903.)
 
Location. 33° 39.045′ N, 95° 33.444′ W. Marker is in Paris, Texas, in Lamar County. Marker is at the intersection of 1st Street SW and West Hearne Avenue, on the right when traveling south on 1st Street SW. Touch for map. Located near the Lamar County Sheriff's Building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 125 Brown Avenue, Paris TX 75460, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Baptist Church of Paris (approx. 0.6 miles away); Robert Cooke Buckner (approx. 0.6 miles away); Paris Fire Department (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Paris Fire, 1916 (approx. 0.7 miles away); John James Culbertson (approx. 0.7 miles away); First National Bank of Paris (approx. mile away); Paris Public Schools (approx. mile away); Lamar County, C. S. A. (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Paris.
 
Categories. AgricultureIndustry & Commerce
 
Cotton Compress Paris Texas - circa 1912. image. Click for full size.
By Public Doman
3. Cotton Compress Paris Texas - circa 1912.
From The Will Beauchamp Collection
Trans-Continental Compress Co., Paris, Texas - circa 1911 image. Click for full size.
By Public Domain - Charles Willson Peale
4. Trans-Continental Compress Co., Paris, Texas - circa 1911
From The Will Beauchamp Collection
View from marker towards Ragland Mills (animal feed plant) and West Hearne Avenue. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 21, 2016
5. View from marker towards Ragland Mills (animal feed plant) and West Hearne Avenue.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 10, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 10, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 165 times since then and 61 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 10, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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