With the coming of the railroad in 1893, the
town began to move near the tracks, creating the 'New Town' of
Paradise. The Baptists built the first church in 1893. Mr. & Mrs.
Bob Stutt were the first couple to be married there on April 21, 1893.
The curtains were drawn to create a beautiful candlelight service.
The church house in 'Old Town' which held two congregations (Church of
Christ & First Christian) was built sometime between 1875 and 1901.
The two congregations split due to differences of opinion about the use
of music in worship services. The Church of Christ congregation
remained in 'Old Town' until the church house burned circa 1920. It had
stood across the street from the current water tower. They later
rebuilt the church in 'New Town'.
After the churches split, the First Christian Church group had services
in 'Old Town' in various homes and buildings until about 1905 when a new
church was built in 'New Town'.
There were several gins in town, but only two were operating at one
time. One was located near the former home of Omar Cleveland and was
operated by Lee Baker. He later sold it to Mr. Waggoner, who in time
moved it away. B. B. Barton built a gin near the former home of Earl
Harms, but it burned after four or five years of operation. Ben Ford
built a new gin on the same site. The farmers organized a company and
built a gin on the site of the present home of the Armstrong family.
The Ford and farmers' gins were the last in operation ceasing after the
boll-weevil devastation in 1926-1927.
Mrs. S.L. Atkins owned a rooming house in 'New Town' called the Atkins
Boarding House. It was located near the current Paradise Welcome Sign,
on HWY 114. Mr. Atkins was hired at the Upper Arkansas School after he
sold his hotel to Jasper Lynch. The building burned in 1904. Tom
Brackett built a hotel nearby after the Atkins Boarding House burned,
and that same building became the Wallace Hotel, the home of the Wallace
family. The building was torn down when the HWY 114 bypass was built.
The first doctors to 'New Town' were Drs. T. B. Peek, Floyd, and Morton,
who were all practicing at the same time. Later doctors included Peek,
Riley, Spencer, and McElry. Dr. Floyd Cole was a dentist in the town.
There were two lumber yards, the Boone Lumber Company and the Cameron
Lumber Yard. Boone's was located near the Paradise Market Gas Station,
and the Cameron Yard was West of Boone's.
The post office was located near the present Veteran's Park, with
William M. Ward serving as postmaster from July 3, 1895 to August 11,
1906. North of the post office was a leather shop where saddles and
other leather goods were made.
In 1903, Thompson and Carter built and operated a bank on the West side
of the street. It was the last county bank. Since then, the building has
housed many businesses such as cafe's, beauty shops, and an office for a
The First National Bank and the People's Bank both stood on the West side of Main Street near the present City Hall.
South of the People's Bank, Mr. M.D. Cansler had a dry goods and grocery
store, which was moved from 'Old Town'. It was later changed to a drug
store, operated by Earl Frost's father. Mr. Frost also was postmaster
from March 27, 1915 to March 3, 1925.
South of the drugstore was a barber shop. the telephone office was
located on the present site of Main Street Salon. A studio was North of
the telephone office.
A newspaper, called the Paradise Echo,
was printed in part of
the Collins building, just North of the current post office, and an ice
cream parlor and ice house occupied the other part. The Collins
building has since been torn down.
South of the Collins building was a barber shop run by Allen Cobb and
others. Next to that was a building used for hardware and horseshoeing,
followed by four brick buildings to the South which were used by
various people for grocery and dry goods.
A blacksmith shop occupied the site of the current Veteran's Park. The
blacksmith's shop became the old fire station, which was eventually
destroyed by a tornado. Mr. Williamson was the last blacksmith in
At one time, there was a wood yard and stock pens across the railroad
between the former homes of George Sizemore and Omar Cleveland.
There was also a livery stable and wagon yard located near Elm Street.
A moving picture show occupied the Cansler building during the late
1910's and 1920's. A cotton warehouse, located across the railroad West
of the current home of George Sizemore, was destroyed by a tornado
around 1920. The tornado also destroyed several other buildings,
including the Baptist Church.
Tradition says that Paradise got its name
from the beautiful flowers that were growing wild when it was first
settled. 'Old Paradise' or 'Old Town' as it is called today, was South
of the present elementary school. The town was built in a square, with a
well just off the SE corner.
On the North side of the square was a dry goods and grocery store, owned
and operated by M.D. Cansler. Also on the North side was the Wise
County Messenger, which was established around 1881.
The West side housed a meat market operated by Jim Davis and a grocery
and dry goods store owned by Mr. Lowery. South of Lowery, was a dry
goods store belonging to Bill Ramsdale and Peter Hamilton. The post
office was in the back of the store, and Mr. Ramsdale served as
postmaster from 1879-1881.
There were two saloons in 'Old Town', one on the West side, and one on the South.
Major Jones had a blacksmith shop on the East side of the square. South
of this was Captain Rhodes' Drug Store, where he was the operating
There were two gins in 'Old Town'. The first one was owned by Dan Sheen
and sat North of the former home of Joe Potts. the cotton was carried
in baskets to the gin. There was only one stand, and the cotton ran out
onto the floor, where it was picked up by hand and put into a press
powered by a team of oxen. The other gin was located at the site of the
Elmer Cobb home. It was a steam press and had three stands. Major
Jones was the owner and operator of this gin.
There was one hotel in 'Old Town', located at the site of Mrs.
Koeniger's home. It had two rather large front rooms and two shed
rooms, one of which was used as a kitchen. Major Jones also owned and
operated the hotel. He and his large family took up residence in this
Mr. Plymell had a rooming-house in 'Old Town'. People were only housed
overnight, and they had to eat breakfasts at the Jones Hotel.
Doctors in 'Old Town' included Brown, Yeater, Raimer, and Gibson-who were all practicing at one time.
There was a stagecoach route from Gainesville to Weatherford, which stopped in Paradise for passengers and mail.
The first church in Paradise was the Methodist Church. It was located on
Sunflower Road. It is thought that they had services once a month. This
church was organized in 1875, on land donated by O.H.P. Read. The
lumber was hauled from Fort Worth and Sherman by wagon, and the church
was known as Read Chapel. the church and parsonage were later moved to
'New Town' on July 2, 1901, when Rev. Seab Crutchfield was the pastor.
The Baptist church organized in 1893 with a few members meeting under
trees in front of the cemetary for services. Later they moved to the
Methodist church which had Sunday School in the morning, allowing the
Baptists to have Sunday School in the afternoon. Each church had
worship services once a month.