Downtown Perryville Walking Trail created to preserve history


The Residents are about to be able to take a walk into the past.
Perry County Heritage Tourism and the Perry County Historical Society partnered to create the Historic Downtown Perryville Walking Trail in hopes to preserve the past as well as give people an opportunity to walk around the Downtown Square.
“We talked at one time creating something to do downtown,” Perry County Heritage Tourism Director Trish Erzfeld said. “We wanted something to make people walk around the square more and not just stop at one location. Perry County has rich history and we wanted to showcase that.”
Erzfeld consulted with the various business owners on and around the Downtown Square and then created 25 different plaques with old-time stores and businesses that used to be in Perryville and Perry County at those locations.
“So many of those buildings used to be one business and have been split and divided over time,” Erzfeld said. “
One of those buildings that will be highlighted in the plaques is Phillip’s Opera House

“Plans to construct this building at the Northeast corner of Ste. Marie and Main Street were announced in the Perry County Sun newspaper on February 25, 1897. Mr. T. L. Phillips let the contract for building a $6,000 opera house on his property on the northeast corner of the public square. The building is to be 40x65 with three business rooms below, one of which will be occupied by the Bank of Perryville, and the other two will be for rent. By September of 1897, the Opera House opened with a gala that lasted well into the morning. After only six seasons, in August of 1903, the building was converted to Rozier’s Mercantile Store and has been in business here under management of the Rozier and Lottes families for 120 years.”
The installation of the plaques is well underway with the hopes to be completed by the end of the week.
“We hope to have them all up by the Christmas on the Square event,” Erzfeld said.
It has been a labor of love for Erzfeld and the Historical Society as it took a long time to research the buildings to find the information needed for the plaques.
“I couldn’t have done it without the Historical Society,” Erzfeld said. “I probably overworked them with so many to start out with. It was a long process.”
Erzfeld hopes to create a Phase Two of the project with more plaques and noted that if any business owner, who currently does not have a plaque would like one, to contact Erzfeld.
If they would like more information on each building, residents should contact the Perry County Historical Society.