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Paris is part of the Terre Haute, Indiana, Metropolitan Statistical Area. Paris was founded in 1815 by George W. Crawford and named after Paris, Kentucky (the county seat of neighboring Bourbon County), from which many early settlers had migrated. The first post office at Paris opened in 1816. In its earliest days it was a center for fur trading; later it became an important coal mining town with several mines still operating within city limits today. It also served as a stop on the Underground Railroad before the Civil War and into Reconstruction when slaves would be taken to Canada via this route to freedom. The town's population grew steadily throughout most of the 19th century until 1900 when industry began moving out due to cheaper labor costs elsewhere along with improvements in transportation that made shipping more efficient than railroads at that time. After World War II industrial growth picked up again but never returned to earlier levels although some manufacturing continues within city limits today such as AEP Industries Inc., formerly known as American Electric Power Service Corporation (AES).