In 1882 two railroads built their lines into the county and crossed at a point where a town would be built. One was the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad, later to be known as the Missouri Pacific, headed by the famous railroad magnate, Jay Gould. The other railroad was Texas and St. Louis, later called the Cotton Belt. The line was built to ship Texas cotton to St. Louis. J.W. Paramore served as president.
When a name was sought for the newly created town at the junction of the two railroads, “Para-Gould” was derived form the surnames of two early railroad tycoons, J. W. Paramore and Jay Gould. Paragould evolved by combining syllables from the names Paramore and Gould, a truly original name for a unique town.
Paragould was incorporated March 3, 1883, while it was still an uncultivated timber-covered tract. Most of the area was part of a 281-acre farm owned by a settler from Tennessee, Willie Pruett, who had purchased it in 1869.
The early timber industry gave way to industrial plants.
Today’s population is estimated at 24,359. The spirit of the people of Paragould is evident in readings from the city’s early beginning. This spirit prevails and can be directly attributed to the growth and opportunity for long-time citizens as well as newcomers to the area.