Park College, Woodward Hall

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Description: Postcard of Woodward Hall at Park College
Location: SC58
Collection: Mrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)See finding aid:,36981
Historical Article: New Woodward at Park College, Parkville, was erected in 1908 from salvaged stone from an earlier two-story Woodward Hall. The old hall was located near the Missouri River and the Burlington railroad tracks. The tracks followed the Missouri River valley to Kansas City, 10 miles distant.George S. Park, a former Illinois school teacher, built a two-story stone hotel at English Landing on the Missouri River in Platte County in 1850. There was no town of Parkville at the time. His hotel, called the Missouri Valley Hotel, served steamboat passengers. It was considered very fine and its guests included new settlers, adventurers and eastern land investors.Park had large land holdings in the county. He also had a dream of founding a college on the land, a work college where students would do all the work to pay for an education. His dream came true when he attended a Presbyterian meeting and met Dr. John Armstrong McAfee, then president of Highland College at Highland Kan., and the Rev. George S. Woodward, who was enthusiastic over the work college idea.Park closed his hotel and in 1875, Dr. McAfee resigned his position to become president of the new school. The original 17 students all came from Highland, Kan. All lived with President and Mrs. McAfee and family in the old hotel building. In time the name was changed to Woodward Hall, honoring Mr. Woodward and his efforts in establishing the institution.The students usually worked four hours a day and did everything from peeling potatoes to mowing lawns or laying stone for a new building.Meanwhile, old Woodward Hall was becoming a problem for the Burlington railroad, which needed the site for a depot. Park had given the land to the college for its perpetual use in 1879, so condemnation by the railroad was necessary to procure the land. Burlington officials had indicated a willingness to pay $15,000 and allow the college to remove the aging building. Records of the college board of trustees showed agreement with the railroad plans, and students began tearing down old Woodward and hauling it by horse and wagon to a high wooded site farther north and east.New Woodward was finished in 1908, a massive four-and-a-half-story dormitory accommodating 72 students. It served for 70 years, until 1978, when a disastrous fire gutted the building. Old stone from the wrecked building has been fenced off for protection, with the idea that some day it might be used again.Kansas City TimesAugust 1, 1980
Barcode: 20000499
Item Type: Postcard


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