Celebrating Our 140th Anniversary Through Pictures

In our continued celebration of Park University’s 140th anniversary, we are taking a look back at its rich history, through a collection of photos. Although it is no longer standing, this building was the original home of Park College. Located on the banks of the Missouri River, just north of the train tracks, “Number One” was the home of Park’s first class of 17 students. To share the story of its beginnings, here is an excerpt from A Chronicle of Memories: Park College – 1875-1990.


Old photo of Old Number One, a stone multi-level building.

Originally built in 1839 as the Missouri Valley Hotel, this building served as the first home of Park College.

Once a rough, hilly spot of rocks and clay and woods, the campus has been transformed into beautiful terraces lined with shrubs and flowers. Buildings have risen, faithfully served their time, and given way to newer and finer structures as necessity has demanded and the means permitted. Practically all has been modified by the changing time except what is familiarly knows as “the old Park Spirit” – the spirit of endeavor, of progress, and of success, which still pervades the college atmosphere and inspires all to greater achievement.

In 1839, Colonel George S. Park arrived at a small hamlet on the Missouri River called English Landing (now Parkville) where he built a stone hotel which he named the Missouri Valley Hotel. This pioneer entrepreneur had a dream of founding a college. At a Presbyterian meeting he met another man with the same dream. As a result, in 1875 the old hotel building was given by Colonel Park to house the nucleus of seventeen students brought by Dr. John A. McAfee from Highland College in Kansas to found Park College. It was called “Number One” or just “The College” and rightly so because it was the first and only building of the fledgling college and because it contained everything pertaining to the institution (except, of course, the grounds and buildings needed for farming, which were leased at the beginning). It was located just west of the railroad depot which you now know as the City Hall. The townspeople were not too happy when the students built a fence around it to keep them from cutting across the yard on their way to the depot.

Parts of this hotel which had once flourished during the Civil War period had fallen into disrepair from abuse by soldiers and border ruffians, and by being used as a saloon and even as a stable for their horses by the renegade James brothers, Jesse and Frank. Dr. and Mrs. McAfee, their five children and the seventeen students all pitched in to clean up the mess and make the building livable. Gradually as time went on and much work was done, the lower floor contained the printing office, dining room, kitchen, laundry, bakery, clothes and store rooms; the second floor a chapel, six recitation rooms, two literary society halls, library, President’s office, parlor, and matron’s and steward’s rooms. The third floor was a sort of conservatory containing eighteen rooms (which by 1886 housed sixty-eight young ladies), a reading and a music room. It was called the “Sugar Box,” presumably because of the sweet young ladies who resided there. On the top was the ten-room “Pepper Box,” so named because of its many windows. Should you want to catch a steamer or row a boat on the Missouri River you would just cross the railroad tracks immediately south of Old Number One, walk a few yards, and there you’d be.


This is just one of the many great stories from Park’s 140 years of tradition. To celebrate that history, Fides et Labor –140 Years of Pioneering Education: The Story of Park University (working title), is currently in production and is scheduled to be available in September. The 160-page publication will be filled with stories and photos covering the University’s history. Pre-orders for the book are currently being filled at the discounted price of $39.95 through Aug. 1; the price goes to $44.95 after that date and supply will be limited. For more information or to order your book, visit www.park.edu/historybook.

Living our Core Values – Global Citizenship

As we hit the midpoint of the Spring 1 term, Roger Dusing continues our series on Living Our Core Values with a look at GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP.

Visit our archives to read other posts in the series – on ACCOUNTABILITY, CIVILITY and RESPECT and EXCELLENCE.


We celebrate GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP through our connected learning and working environment, as well as community stewardship

Park University has a rich heritage of connecting learning and working. Our original students worked in lieu of paying tuition. They cooked the food, washed the clothes, and built the buildings; all while earning their academic degrees. There is a tradition of service and stewardship.

One of the great things about working for Park today is that we are surrounded by our customers every day. Many employees and their families are also customers. These connections allow us to provide “learning” to our students while we are also learners ourselves. We learn more about academic disciplines through research – we learn more about teaching, customer service, and managing through practice and training. We are embraced by an environment steeped in learning, working, and service. We are citizens of Park University, and of the global universe that surrounds us.

Citizenship, in all forms, is a blessing. It means that you are entitled to the benefits and protections of being part of an organization that shares common values and beliefs. Citizens are connected through friendships and work relationships, and through their common objectives. Citizens can expect to be treated as partners, compatriots, and colleagues.

However, citizenship comes with price. That price is the responsibility (or accountability) to act as a citizen – to dedicate your efforts for the greater good – to put the needs of the organization above your personal needs – to express your opinions constructively – to give as much as you receive.

As citizens of Park University, we must also recognize that what we have to give is also needed by others outside of our University. We are also obligated, as both individuals and as a whole, to be citizens of the world, and to give back and serve the communities around us.

I searched for quotes about citizenship and the some of my favorites are below, but best one came from a first-grade reading/social studies lesson:


What is a good citizen? A good citizen is someone who respects others and their property. He/she is helpful and considerate, willing to put others first. He/she listens to the views of others and thinks about what they have to say. He/she helps people who are not in a position to help themselves. He/she respects the environment and does not damage it any way. He/she works hard. He/she is well mannered and pleasant. He/she is always willing to learn.


As citizens of Park University, what better model could we have as global citizens, than to act like First Graders?


Some additional quotes on Citizenship

The true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good.

Ann Landers

Citizenship is a sense of belonging to a community for which one bears a responsibility.

Walter Berns

Citizenship is a tough occupation which obliges the citizen to make his own informed opinion and stand by it.

Martha Gellhorn

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For indeed, that’s all who ever have.

Margaret Mead

Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.

Marcus Aurelius

Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.

John F. Kennedy

Celebrating Our 140th Anniversary Through Pictures

At Park University, we are excited to celebrate our 140th anniversary over the next several months. As a large part of that celebration, we will be looking back at many of the historic moments that have shaped Park’s growth from our founding in 1875 to today, across several venues. In addition to a dedicated website, we will be sharing photos on social media as well. Every Monday, the Fishburn Archives at Park University will share a quick glance into the past, from our collection of photos and documents. And on the Park University Facebook page, we will be updating our cover photos to highlight important figures and events throughout our timeline,

Our first cover photo features three men, without whom Park would not exist today. To many longtime stakeholders and alumni of Park, the first two men need no introduction – founder of Park College and its home of Parkville, Mo., Col. George S Park; and our first president, John A. McAfee. The third figure, while not nearly as well-known as Park and McAfee, is Rev. Elisha B. Sherwood.

Like Col. Park, Rev. Sherwood was a native of Vermont, although they came from opposite ends of the state – Park was born in Grafton; Sherwood in Fairfield. And like Dr. McAfee, Rev. Sherwood was a dedicated minister of the Presbyterian Church. It was Sherwood’s friendship with each man separately that allowed him to make an introduction in mid-March 1875, and on March 29, McAfee, Park and Sherwood drafted plans and signed an agreement to establish the “Park College for Training Christian Workers.” The first class of students arrived in Parkville on April 13, 1875.

A mural on the first floor of Mackay Hall depicts Col. Park as “A Man of Vision,” and Dr. McAfee as “A Man of Action,” but without the assistance of Rev. Sherwood, the vision that is Park would not stand where it does today.

Facebook Cover Photo With Headshots of three founders on a gray background.

Col. George S. Park (l) and Dr. John McAfee, each with the desire to start a college, were introduced by Rev. Elisha B. Sherwood (r), laying the foundations for Park University. This photo is the first in a series of Facebook cover photos to celebrate important figures and events throughout Park’s history during our celebration of our 140th anniversary.