Parkville is named for George S. Park who bought the steamboat landing concession on the Missouri River from David English in 1838 shortly after the Platte Purchase from the Native Americans opened the area for settlement. He served as the town's first postmaster.
In 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, termed the newspaper pro-commerce. Park generally believed that slavery in Kansas would be bad for his business interests there.
In 1854, while leading a trip up the Kansas River, he established the town of Polistra near the mouth of the Big Blue River.
Park's newspaper was raided by a pro-slavery mob on April 14, 1855, and the printing press was thrown in the Missouri River. Park was in Polistra at the time closing a deal to turn over the town into a newly named Boston, Kansas to be run by members of the abolitionist New England Emigrant Aid Company (who in turn would rename it Manhattan). 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 The newspaper's first issue contained unpublished letters from Park's last issue and frequently reprints Park's own editorials from the original Luminary.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.
Courtesy of Wikipedia