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August, 1886 the Kansas City Pacific Railroad submitted a proposition to the citizens of Liberty Township in Kansas asking for a subsidy of $25,000 to bring MKT (Missouri Kansas Texas) Railway through their area. The proposition was accepted by nearly a unanimous vote.

On November 12, 1888, with the railway nearing completion, a town site was laid out in an apple orchard owned by J. W. Parker who also owned other large tracts of land in the area. The town was named Parker, after him. Stockholders for the town site, along with Mr. Parker, included Michael Thompson, Dr. J. G. Rabb, Joseph Kimball and William Chestnut.

The town was originally known as Hugo and was designated by two businesses located at the corner of what is now known as 2100 Rd. and Center Ave. There was a general store owned by Judd Payne and a blacksmith shop kept by Charles Geer. Hugo became Parker when the railroad came through, bringing mail to the area, because the U. S. Postal Service discovered that there was another town in Kansas named Hugo already receiving mail. Around the time Parker was laid out in 1888, the general store was put on skids and pulled by horses to the new business area by the railroad.

The Parker Post Office was opened December 22, 1888 as a 4th class office. J. W. Parker was appointed first Postmaster that same day but he was not commissioned nor did he serve.

The first train passed through Parker on January 1, 1889. The tracks are still in use today.

The first city council was established in 1897. Parker was a thriving community for many years with businesses such as restaurants, hotel, general store, hardware, blacksmith, grain elevator, milliner’s shops, furniture stores, gas stations, doctor’s offices, banks and other shops usually found in small towns. There is an elementary school in Parker and until 1969 there was a high school. As young people found their economic needs turning from small family farms, they started moving away for better opportunities and businesses began to close.

Parker is now a small bedroom community with rural ties. Today there is a post office, elementary school, convenience store, lumber yard, auto repair shops, a machine shop and small dress shop in town.

(This information was taken from the Parker Community History and Stories and Parker Centennial books.)

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