History in Paris, Illinois & More!

My parents eloped to Paris, Illinois in 1957. They married at the Edgar County courthouse. Today I toured this beautiful building. My friend Annie Jansen and I enjoyed the ambience and the lovely murals inside.

The Courthouse in Paris and Abraham Lincoln!


Built in 1891 the courthouse in Paris is over 100 years old! There was a courthouse here previously. In 1842, Lincoln came to Edgar County as a lawyer. He conducted cases in the previous courthouse. Lincoln was part of the 8th Judicial Circuit. According to some documentation in one of the buildings on the square, “His first documented case, Samuel Nolan v, John Hunter, involved water rights for grist mills. Lincoln won.”

I noted that out front of the courthouse there is a grist stone from the Lewis Jones farm. This seems fitting!

My parents and the Courthouse

One of the murals at the Edgar County Courthouse

William Ralph Disque and Lora Nerene Pearcy spoke their vows in this lovely building in Paris 64 years ago. I thought it fitting to visit the courthouse while in town. They thought getting married in Paris was quite romantic and during the month of June no doubt! The courthouse has some lovely murals and architectural nuances that make this worth a walk through. There is only one entrance and you are checked for security which was not an issue.

Staff allowed us to see where the marriage license was issued and the courtroom where they were probably married!

Chamber of Commerce

Charles Keys is the Executive Director of the Paris Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism

A stop by the Paris Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism brought Annie and I a new friend. We met the new Executive Director, Charles Keys. Charles provided us with some cool Paris stuff and offered us the ultimate, a tour of his home, The 1870 Home and Gardens!

Plans are underway to build an Eiffel Tower in a public park! Read about the another Eiffel tower cool in Paris, Tennessee!

The 1870 House & Gardens


Charles was kind enough to share his home and gardens that he and his wife Jennifer open up sometimes for various events. The house is amazing! Built in 1870, you would never guess that 20 years ago the house was condemned! I can’t imagine the hard work that went into making this the show stopper that it is today! The house is Victorian and decked out in beautiful antiques.

The front of the house was built originally by James Sutherland. The back was added a few years later (15 or so Charles thinks) by James Steele. Each room has a story with amazing views. From the butterflies in the sitting room to the newel post with the carved cross and anchors it was so lovely!

Jennifer and Charles lived next door to one another on adjacent farms. They have been married for 38 years. Their love of antiques, beautiful things and flowers is carried throughout the house!

The Gardens!


The gardens are filled with 50 varieties of Hostas and 60 types of Day lilies! “We collect unusual and different things,” Charles said.

That is clear when we saw the amazing statues, and items placed strategically throughout the garden. A few beautiful threshold stones from torn down homes now serve as signs with the Keys favorite garden sayings. The family dogs have free rein of the garden and home. They kept Annie and I company as we oohed from one beautiful plant to the next. Pops of color were everywhere, catching the eye from one corner to the next!

Recently a bridal shower was held onsite.

To contact Charles and Jennifer about an event, call 1217-465-2600. For the couple it is all about sharing the house, and the community with others.


We followed Charles suggestion and ate at Rocky’s Italian Bistro. This was a cool Italian restaurant in town. Good food and service rounded out our stop!

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