Former Paris High School, Eveland Gym named to National Register of Historic Places

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — The former Paris High School and Eveland Gymnasium in Paris, Illinois were among sites named to National Register of Historic Places in 2019, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced Monday.

Historic preservation advocates in Illinois were successful in getting a total of 12 sites across the state added to the register last year.

“Each of these places tells a unique story that is a part of the rich fabric of Illinois history,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “We are proud to work with local preservationists to obtain national recognition for these historic buildings and neighborhoods.”

Paris High School was constructed near the center of the city in 1909 with symmetrical additions added in 1922.

The gymnasium was built by laborers from the Works Progress Administration in 1943, and later renamed Eveland Gymnasium in 1977 to honor prominent basketball coach Ernie Eveland who led the Paris Tigers to two state championships and two state runner-ups.

The school served the Paris community until 2015 when a new high school was constructed. It is currently undergoing renovations to transform the building into affordable senior apartments.

The Eveland Gymnasium is still being used to host local athletic and community events.

Other places recognized throughout the state include a replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a stone wine cellar, and three historic districts that, when combined, include more than 60 significant properties.

Historic places are added to the National Register by the National Park Service based on recommendations from the State Historic Preservation Office, a division of the IDNR.

In general, properties must be more than 50 years old to be eligible for the National Register. A listing places no obligations on private property owners but does make properties eligible for some financial incentives.

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