Park University to host Platte County 175th anniversary celebration event with exhibit on legacy of university and Parkville founder

As a part of a series of events celebrating the 175th anniversary of the creation of Platte County, Mo., Park University will host an exhibit that showcases the founder of the University and the City of Parkville, Mo., George S. Park. The exhibit, “The Life and Legacy of George Shepard Park, 1811-1890 — Father of Parkville and Co-Founder of Park University,” will be on display in the University’s Parkville Campus McAfee Memorial Library, Tuesday, April 1, through Saturday, May 31. A reception will be held in honor of the exhibit on Sunday, April 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Library.

The exhibit, compiled by Carolyn Elwess, Park University archivist, will highlight events in George S. Park’s life, including the destruction of his printing press, thrown into the Missouri River by a pro-slavery mob on April 14, 1855, and his involvement in the founding of Park College (now University) in 1875. In addition, original documents, newspapers, photographs, artifacts and furniture from the University’s Frances Fishburn Archives and Special Collections will be on display. Many of the items have never before been exhibited.

Platte County was established on Dec. 31, 1838. Previously, both Platte and Buchanan counties had been part of Clay County until an act by the Missouri legislature separated and created boundaries for each after the Platte Purchase of 1836.

The yearlong anniversary celebration of events is coordinated by Platte County First District Commissioner Beverlee Roper and Weatherby Lake resident Pat Medill. The University is represented on the committee by: Elwess, archivist and 1971 graduate; Deanna Armstrong, executive director of Platte Senior Services Inc. and 1970 graduate; and Carol Getty, Ph.D., professor emeritus of criminal justice. In August, the University is also scheduled to host a series of Native American cultural exhibits.

The University’s McAfee Memorial Library is located within Park’s Mabee Learning Center/Academic Underground. Admission is free. The exhibit will be open during the Library’s regular hours through Friday, May 9: 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and 4 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Beginning Monday, May 12, the exhibit will be open during the Library’s summer hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday. The Library will be closed on Saturday, May 10, and Sunday, May 11, for the University’s commencement weekend, as well as Monday, May 26, for the Memorial Day holiday.

For a list of events celebrating Platte County’s 175th anniversary, visit the Platte County Parks and Recreation website,

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