Liberty

About Liberty

Liberty is redeveloping the Liberty Triangle, an 88 acre (360,000 m²) parcel bound by I-35 and Routes 152 and 291. Liberty proposed annexing three unincorporated areas in 2005/2006. The first two went to a vote in 2006 and one was approved. A third area is expected to be put on the ballot in the near future and would more than double the city in size. All three areas would increase out the city boundaries to the school district boundaries.

Major employers in Liberty include the  Hallmark distribution warehouse. Liberty is also home to the operations headquarters for Ferrellgas, the largest retail provider of propane in the United States.

Schools 

The public school district serves Liberty along with portions of Kansas City and unincorporated Clay County. Its schools (10 elementary, 2 middle, 2 junior high, 2 senior high) have ranked among the best in Missouri in recent years, with achievement of multiple athletic and academic state titles and championships in recent years as well as high-performance district honors from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Liberty is usually ranked in the top 20 schools in Missouri.

 

History

Liberty Township was first settled by Robert Gilmore, his sons James Gilmore and Samuel Gilmore, Richard Hill, and Elijah Smith in 1820. Other settlers arrived in 1821. In the early summer of 1822 John Owens and Charles McGee donated 50 acres of land and the Liberty municipal township was laid out and made the county seat. Owens had a tavern, or “house of entertainment” on what is now the northwest corner of Water and Mill streets.

The Owens house was used to hold the first courts and “for other public purposes.”

The first sale of lots was held on July 4th, 1822 and all those fronting the square were sold on that day. Up to 1826 there were approximately a dozen houses in Liberty and all but one were log cabins. Early hotels or taverns were established by Leonard Searcy (1826), Laban Garrett (1827) and John Chauncy (1832). Probably the first store in Liberty was established by William L. Smith, the county clerk, who brought a few goods from Bluffton in 1822 and sold them from his home.

Liberty was first incorporated as a town on May 4, 1829 and included 160 acres of land. The public square in Liberty had two houses on the south side, one on the west, two on the north and two or three on the east. There was one tavern on the square that belonged to Leonard Searcy. There was no church in town.

In December 1846, an article in the Tribune described Liberty still stands true today:   “If there is a healthy spot in Missouri, it is in Liberty. It is finely watered, society is good, and in point of morals it is the equal to any other place, and rapidly improving in that respect.”

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