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West Tennessee Treasures - Paris - Cavitt Place

By Brittany Patterson
By bpatterson@wbbjtv.com

Just a few blocks outside of Paris' historic downtown lies a mansion once considered the "jewel in the crown of Paris".

"When it was built, it was by far the most expensive house that had ever been built in the Paris," said Paris-Henry County Heritage Center Director, Norma Steele.

Cavitt Place, a 1916 Italian Renaissance style home, was built by Paris millionaire O.C. Barton.

"There were no expenses spared in building this house," said Steele. "The glass windows, They're actually not stained class. They're painted. The murals in the dining room, and there's another in the ceiling of the breakfast room."

If walls could talk, the detailed brickwork would tell stories of lavish parties thrown on the threshold of the Roaring Twenties.

"The Barton's were quite the entertainers," said Steele. "They were very active in the community and there were lots of parties and things on the lawn in that way."

Over the years, the mansion changed hands: from the Camp Tyson headquarters, to the TVA and even the Henry County Health Department.

Now, the gem is home to the Paris-Henry County Heritage Center.

"We have an original Civil War uniform that was worn by a local doctor," said Steele. "Henry County has a very rich history. Every family has a story to tell, and a lot of people really enjoy participating in that."

The title to Cavitt Place was received by the Paris-Henry County Heritage Center in 1992. The museum's permanent and temporary exhibits are now open to the public.