Originally written by Wayne Wilkinson for the Paris Museum and Historical Society Newsletter, reprinted here with permission.
The greatest influences on the history of Paris and its growth were the availability of water power and the railroads. In the 1800s many villages were established in Upper Canada. Some grew for a while and withered away while others grew into towns and cities. This very often depended on whether they were serviced by a railway or passed by. Paris was fortunate to have not just one railway but six railroad lines pass through it. A brief history of these lines follows.
The first rail to come to Paris was the Great Western Railway in 1847. The far-sited Hiram Capron and his wife Mary (De Long) Capron negotiated and sold some of his farm land just north of Paris to the GWRR. This became known as Paris Junction. The train came to Paris in 1853. This important link from Hamilton to Windsor was built between 1846 and 1854. The first railway station in Paris was built in 1853, but burned to the ground in 1865. A year later a new brick station was built.
Junction of Grand Western Railway and Buffalo Goderich Railway Lines, c. 1860 Details