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Paris Gibson

paris gibson square museum of arts great falls, paris gibson alternative high school
Paris Gibson July 1, 1830 – December 16, 1920 was an American entrepreneur and politician

Gibson was born in Brownfield, Maine An 1851 graduate of Bowdoin College, he served as a member of the Montana State Senate and as a Democratic member of the United States Senate between 1901 and 1905


  • 1 Career
  • 2 Personal life
  • 3 Gibson House Haunting
  • 4 References


In 1853 he was elected to the Maine legislature1 After moving to Minnesota, where he built the North Star Woolen Mill at St Anthony's Falls, he served on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents from 1871 through 1879, and was a founding Trustee for Lakewood Cemetery1 He abandoned his failed business interests in Minnesota to try his luck out West and, in 1880, paid a visit to the Great Falls of the Missouri River and quickly recognized their potential for producing hydroelectric power

Gibson convinced his friend, railroad magnate James J Hill, to invest in a townsite at the falls and urged that Hill extend his railroad through the new city In 1883 the city of Great Falls, Montana, had been founded

By 1887 Hill rail lines linked Great Falls to Butte, Montana, and Helena, Montana However, the main line of Hill's Great Northern Railway bypassed Great Falls to the north Despite this setback, Great Falls became a major center of trade for area farmers and ranchers, and its dams on the Missouri River contributed power for ore processing and grain milling industries2

When William A Clark resigned from the United States Senate, Gibson, a Democrat, was elected to fill the seat, and he served from March 7, 1901, until March 3, 19053 He did not seek re-election He died in Great Falls and is buried there in Highland Cemetery

Personal lifeedit

Statue honoring Paris Gibson at Gibson Park, Great Falls, Montana

Paris was married to Valeria Goodnough Sweat 1838-1900 They had four children; two died at an early age at 1 and 2-years-old They had two sons who lived to adulthood, Philip and Theodore

In 1912, Philip was sent to Warm Springs, a state mental hospital in Warm Springs, Montana, for "exhaustion of paresis", a mental disorder, where he died Some time later, Theodore suffered a similar mental problem and was also sent to Warm Springs and he died there as well

Gibson House Hauntingedit

The Theo Gibson home in Great Falls was acquired in 2010 by Kelly Parks She asserts the house, which was built in 1890, is haunted by Valeria Gibson's ghostcitation needed


  1. ^ a b 1 Guide to the Paris Gibson Collection at the University of Montana
  2. ^ Tribune Staff "125 Montana Newsmakers: Paris Gibson" Great Falls Tribune Retrieved August 28, 2011 
  3. ^ "Gibson, Paris, 1830 - 1920" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress United States Congress Retrieved August 28, 2011 
US Senate
Preceded by
William A Clark
US Senator Class 1 from Montana
Served alongside: William A Clark
Succeeded by
Thomas H Carter

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