- George S. Park purchased steamboat landing in Platte Purchase (1838)
- Parkville formally platted (1844)
- Industrial Luminary newspaper established (1853)
- Industrial Luminary press sacked (April 14, 1855)
- Park University founded (1875)
Originally a steamboat landing, Parkville began to take shape when Colonel George S. Park, veteran of the Texas War of Independence, land speculator, and entrepreneur, purchased the site in 1838 and built his home on the bluffs above the Missouri River. In 1844, Park formally platted the town of Parkville, and by 1850, a thriving community existed on the banks of the Missouri River. Park was influential in the development of Parkville, establishing the Parkville Presbyterian Church and constructing a stone hotel near the riverfront to encourage the town’s growth. In 1853, he established the Industrial Luminary newspaper, which some believed to be too abolitionist despite Park owning slaves himself.
Parkville was not immune to the violence and coercion that occurred throughout the region. On April 14, 1855, a proslavery mob, angered by the perceived abolitionist tongue of the Luminary, raided Park’s newspaper. The mob not only threatened to hang George S. Park and his editor, W.J. Patterson, but also threw the newspaper’s printing press into the Missouri River. Patterson would later telegraph Missouri Governor Sterling Price about the incident, stating, “Have not we expectation that local authorities are able to offer us protection from danger, want to know if state authority will immediately protect us.”