Paris Lions Club History – 1930s by Lion Diane McHutchion
In 1931, the consensus population of Paris was 4,137. Over the next 10 years, this number would only increase by 500. The 1930s saw many challenges faced by the residents of our town, the two biggest of these were the effects of the Great Depression and the ominous beginning of the Second World War. Despite the impact of these hardships, the Paris Lions Club began its first and longest lasting project, The Lions Park Children’s Playground.
From an article in the Paris Star, dated July 25, 1935, one reads that the most ambitious program for civic improvement in Paris for many years was decided on by the Lions Club. Because of the planning and organization done by the Lions Club, Paris children would have a properly supervised and modern playground which would greatly benefit safety and healthy bodies by way of wholesome recreation. A wading pool was later installed, built to accommodate 350 children at one time. The final deed of land occupied by this park was given to the Mayor of Paris, Mayor Stewart on September 11, 1935. This land was originally purchased by the Lions Club from the Capron Estate.
A great deal of public support was given to this project. During 1935, as a result of a nation-wide appeal prior to the Paris Lions Club Summer Carnival, the coffers of our Lions Club were considerably enriched. Club records show that the Summer Carnival held May30,31, and June1,1935 was a resounding success raising, after expenses, $5164.35!!!
According to a poster advertising this event, draw prizes included 2 1935 Ford vehicles and 6 ladies or gents Gruen watches. The Carnival featured games, dancing, frolic, a floor show, and whoopee!!!
The Lions Park Children’s Playground was a most ambitious project. It included the preparation and maintenance of the park before, during, and after the completion of the park, plus installation of all equipment. Our Lions Club shouldered all of the expenses required to complete this project.
Even though this was a major undertaking of the Paris Lions Club, it did not interfere with the regular work of the Club. This included aiding underprivileged children whether it be vision testing, furnishing eyeglasses, eyecare, tonsils and other operations, supplying milk where needed, bringing cheer at Christmas, and generally adding to the health and happiness for those who lacked the wherewithal, which the times greatly lacked.
Because of the dedication of the founding members of the Paris Lions Club, we have much to be grateful for and appreciate. These motivated individuals set a high standard for future Club members.
As members of the present Paris Lions Club, we strive to meet that standard set 90 years ago.