Parkville is named in honor of George S. Parkwho bought the steamboat landing concession on the Missouri River from the English Brothers in 1838 shortly after the Platte Purchase from the Native Americans opened the area for settlement. He served as the town’s first postmaster.

n 1845 he organized the Parkville Presbyterian Church which is still one of the town’s largest congregations.

In 1853 he started the Industrial Luminary, a newspaper some believed to abolitionist. Park, however, owned slaves and termed the newspaper pro-commerce. Park generally believed that slavery in Kansas would be bad for his business interests there.

In 1855 while leading a trip up the Kansas River to established the town of Manhattan, KS., Park’s newspaper the Parkville Luminary was raided by a pro-slavery mob and the printing press was thrown in the Missouri River which caused the business to shut its doors.  The Parkville Luminary, a newspaper based on the original Luminary, began publishing again in 2004 and is circulated every Friday. The newspaper’s first issue contained unpublished letters from Park’s last issue and frequently reprints Park’s own editorials from the original Luminary. In 1859 he promoted the Parkville and Grand River Railroad to build the first bridge across the Missouri River. Park lost the battle to Kansas City when the Hannibal Bridge opened in 1869 making it the dominant city in the region.


In 1875 he donated land for what would become Park University on the bluffs above the Missouri River. His former home is a prominent part of the campus, visible from the entrance and serving as the school’s alumni center.

Tom Watson designed the National Golf Club of Kansas City and it opened in 2001 on the north edge of the city, an area that was voluntarily annexed into the city. The road passing it is called the Tom Watson Parkway, though generally referred to as Highway 45.

Education in Parkville

Park Hill School District received the Missouri Quality Award in 2011.  Park Hill is the first school district in the 17-year history of this award to earn the distinction. Park Hill spent the last several years aligning our processes with these standards, and district administrators Dr. Mark Miles and Dr. Jeff Klein spent months working through the application and the site visit. The Missouri Quality Award recognizes an organization’s commitment to meeting its customers’ needs and to using the best-available processes for everything it does. This award is aligned with the exacting standards of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The Missouri Quality Award demonstrates to the Park Hill community the world-class level of excellence that our schools are achieving. It also comes with a detailed report from the site-visit team, which will identify both strengths and opportunities for improvement. “This award shows our commitment to continuous improvement,” Dr. Fisher at Park Hill High School  said. “It would not have been possible without the people here in Park Hill. Our teachers and support staff are second to none, and our parents and community provide the support we need to achieve these great heights.”

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