Park University History Tour
This tour through Park University was created by students and faculty of the university for the benefit of students, alumni, staff, faculty, and community members.
Named in memory of the son of Dr. John A. McAfee and Mrs. Anna McAfee, the Samuel Poage McAfee Memorial Cottage was built in 1897 as one of the earliest buildings on campus. Nicknamed "Hilltop House" it served as home to the McAfee's until Mrs. McAfee's death in 1920, which it then became home to various other faculty families and staff members. Later on in life, 1967-68, it became a faculty clubhouse. It was razed in 1968 to make way for a purposed library, Norrington Hall.
The building that would become Norrington Center started life as a library built with the help of the Carnegie Foundation in 1904. It has since seen an addition through a request to the Carnegie Foundation, a change in purpose, and a name change, but has since returned to being the Park University library. The renovation of Norrington Center received an Excellence Award in the Contemporary Design in a Historic Context Category from the Historic Kansas City organization at its Preservation Awards.
Park University's Mackay Hall, completed in 1893, is a product of the college's unique "self-help" educational philosophy; more than 300 students provided manual labor for seven years in constructing the building. The Hall also speaks to the town's history, notably its founder, Colonel Park. He donated the property for the college and helped, along with Dr. John McAfee, instill its educational philosophy, one intent on combining Christian teachings with pragmatic lessons targeted at youth living in the American West. Park College also proved to be a far more inclusive college than many others of its era; women students and two Native Americans were included among the college's first student body.
The Thompson Commons was built in 1927, it originally housed the communal dining hall and a community room for study and entertainment.
The Stephens Cottage Honor Dorm was built in 1940. The dormitory housed female students of Park from 1946 through 1965.
Sherwood House was built in 1890 as a home for boys, and was later renovated into a dormitory for female students at Park College.
New Woodward Hall Dormitory (1908). As mentioned earlier, old number one had been set for demolition in 1893. unwilling to see the landmark destroyed,the board of trustees voted to remodel the old hotel. it was renamed "Woodward Hall" in loving memory of Rev. George S. Woodward, an early pastor of the Parkville Presbyterian Church. the updated building served as the headquarters of the board of trustees as well as a dormitory for men and as a storage area.
Hawley Memorial Dormitory was built in late 1950s to honor the past Park president Frederick William Hawley and his Wife Pauline Hawley. The Hawley's had invested a great deal to the improvement of the University that the building name was much deserved. It was first a Dormitory that held 95 students, but was later converted to classrooms, and offices in 2010. It is still used as office space and classrooms today. This building still stands.
The Donald Davis Herr Memorial Hall, also known as Herr house, was built in 1927 in memory of Donald Davis Herr, brother of Arthur, Mabel, Jesse, and Jane Herr, who donated $100,000 in memory of him. Donald had died three years before the donation in an earthquake in Japan. The building was initially used as a dorm for women, and housed many Park university clubs and organizations as well, until it was turned into office spaces, in 2008.
The Park University Park Alumni House, originally built in 1845 and later bought by George Park in 1848, but was later renovated by Pauline Hawley. After renovations the building was also picked up and moved, in 1967, to where it is now. The Park House that was once used for living, is now used as office space for the Park University Alumni Association.
The McCoy Meetin’ House, built in 1932, is the only other bell tower besides McKay hall on the Park University campus. This building was built as a recreational center to replace the Clinton Memorial YWCA hut, which had burned down in 1931. The Meetin' house has seen many more renovations after being built. The most recent renovation in 2016 added a modern look to the interior of the lower level. The building was had many uses in the past ranging from hosting classes and dinners, to wedding receptions. The Meetin' House is currently used for many activities including: classes, meetings, and many Park University Activities.
The Park University Park House was built in 1917, by the architect Carl A. Listrom, and Mrs. Pauline Hawley. The building was built to bring the Park University president closer to the Park campus, and replace the former president's residence also known as "Sunset".This building is the home of the past Park presidents, from president Frederick Hawley, down to the present Park President. It currently houses the Park University president.
The Graham Tyler memorial Chapel is a gothic architectural style building built in 1931 to replace the McCormick chapel, as well as to honor the late Graham Tyler who had taken a keen interest in Park. This building was rebuilt once due to a fire, and has rich history within its walls. The building was mainly used as a Presbyterian worship center, but with its amazing Acoustic sound, it later was converted for a musical center for students.
The original Alumni Hall was conceived by the Park College alumni to serve as a place for reunions, housing for visiting alumni, and a meeting place for various campus organizations. The plan was brought before the Park Board of Trustees under the conditions that the college would pay for the initial construction cost of $10,000 and the alumni would pay back the college with interest. The Board was rightfully concerned about whether or not the alumni would be able to pay back the loan, but with the initial fund raising bringing in over $1,000, the Trustees felt their fears were relieved. The Alumni Hall was finished in 1905, and lived up to the proposal that it would be "the handsomest building on campus."
Copley-Thaw Hall was the result of a donation by Mary Copley Thaw, the daughter of Josiah Copley the namesake of the original Copley Dormitory. Recognizing the need for larger living areas due to Parks expanding student population, Copley Thaw wished to name the new men's dormitory after her father and her husband, both charitable individuals. The building now houses classes and teacher's offices as well as the campus newspaper and the broadcast center.
Copley Quad is Park Universities newest residence hall, built in 2008 as part of the Parkville Campus Master Plan, it houses up to 250 students. The dormitory sits in the same spot as Nickel Hall, a previous dorm on campus. If you are interested in further history of this location please see the Nickel Hall entry.
In 1887 Dr. McAfee had an idea of a dormitory for women paid for by donations, estimating each brick would be five cents each. After stalling several times the idea took hold and in 1895 the building was completed. It served as a women's dorm and laundry for campus until it was changed to a men's dorm in 1946. It had many completely strange things happen within its walls ranging from attempted murder to a entire front porch stolen in the dead of night with no equipment. Sadly, the building was destroyed by students from Chestnut Hall who compromised the structure with the removal of the front porch by jeep and chain. It was set on fire by the fire department to be razed in 1968.
Completed in 1924 houses the department of the natural and physical sciences. Like Biology Chemistry, Geography, Geology and physics. Departments now currently include athletic training information, computer sciences, mathematics and some nursing. The new Earhart Laboratory addition was dedicated in 1997.
A year after Nickel Hall (1895) and the Westcott Building (1895) were finished. Work began on the Charles Smith Scott Observatory located on the hill behind Mackay Hall on the site of the present observation area. The stone was placed there by the students that did all the carpentry work.
Opened in 1968 and formerly known as New Dorm, Chesnut Hall Serves as a residence hall for men and women attending Park University.
The facility was dedicated in 2001. The two-domed facility houses the athletic department offices and provides courts for facilities for all sports.
Park College maintained a work program for students but never had a headquarters for said program. With tools spread throughout campus it was decided that a central location was needed. Howard B. McAfee, family treasurer, spearheaded the project, which began in 1903 when Dr. D. K. Pearsons of Chicago offered an endowment of $25,000 and other donors gave $75,000. Work began in October 1904 and ended in completion April 1905. Today the building still stands but is used as a gym addition.
Gillette Cottage was a female dormitory at Park University. The cottage was built in 1886 and was demolished in 1960.
Named in honor of Edwin R. Westcott by his wife Helen Westcott. From its building year in 1895 to its demolition in 1988, the building was used as the campus store and Print Shop, and was later transformed for use by the maintenance department.