The History of Parkville Missouri

Beauty of limestone carved bluffs, wooded vistas, and the Missouri River provide an enchanting backdrop for Parkville. The shopping and dining district is a delightful jumble of mid 1800s through 1900s architecture, traditional modest American construction, and new trendy venues. Fanciful buildings touting fresh, colorful facades compliment warm, cobblestone walkways. The old, tired structures from a by-gone era have evolved into a delightful historic downtown that flirts with the past.

Landing, village, town, city – Parkville has been all of these. English Landing Centre and the picturesque English Landing Park with Riverfront Trail were once just low water areas of the Missouri River. They were named after David English. At one time, the River was an active route for riverboats bringing supplies to town folk and taking products to market. Parkville was even promoted as the ideal gateway to the west.

Colonel George S. Park acquired English’s claim on Parkville through a 99-year lease for which he paid in 1840. The City has a colorful past, and there are numerous historical accounts of conflicts over the evils of slavery, and the free use of whiskey. By the 1850s, Park had built a hotel, which for a while was used as Park College. By 1877 there were general stores, a shoe store, grocery, hardware, blacksmith shop and two hotels. Many of those little shops and stores are home to today’s shops and restaurants. In 1880, Parkville’s population stood at 482, compared to today’s 4,059. Parkville has survived through floods, train derailments, and controversial issues. Parkville is now known regionally for the exceptional quality of life the community has to offer.

Park’s dream for a college was realized in 1875. The college was first housed in Park’s hotel known as “Old Number One.” Students helped build many of the structures on campus including the magnificent, stone McKay Hall with its steeples and clock tower. The college is now Park University. Sports teams, theatrical performances, Art in the Park, and a diverse student population continue a wonderful partnership with the community.

Come to Parkville: It’s a wonderful place to live, work and play. This historic riverfront community has a unique welcoming feel all its own. Stroll along the streets where settlers traded in years gone by. Relax by the river where steamboats cruised to destinations unknown. Experience the new Parkville with beautiful neighborhoods, vibrant shops and incredible restaurants that offer traditional to trendy… and everything in between!