First settled in 1819 by early pioneers from the Carolinas and other southern states, Liberty was established as the county seat of Clay County in 1822 and officially incorporated as a town in 1829. Colonel Alexander Doniphan was a leading citizen of Liberty before the Civil War and was instrumental in bringing William Jewell College to the city. During the Civil War, both the Union and Confederate armies occupied Jewell Hall, the original classroom building. Even the legendary Jesse James gang is a prominent part of Liberty's history. Now a museum located in Liberty Square, the Jesse James Bank was the site of the first recorded daylight bank robbery. The James Farm is located 10 miles north of Liberty.
Historic Liberty Square is a favorite destination for visitors and residents alike. Many of the recently renovated buildings showcase genuine, early 19th century architecture such as the Clay County Museum and Historical Society and Liberty Jail. The Square is also host of the annual Spring on the Square and Fall Festival. Other local attractions are the Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary, the Stocksdale Gallery of Art on the campus of William Jewell College, and the Performing Arts Theatre, home of the Liberty Symphony Orchestra and Liberty Theatre Company.
Liberty's close proximity to Kansas City offers quick access to various metropolitan diversions, such as the Country Club Plaza, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Worlds of Fun, Oceans of Fun, Science City at Union Station and the Kansas City Zoo. A day trip to Kansas City could also include watching a Royals baseball game or the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. Sports enthusiasts can also partake of more physical pursuits, such as boating or swimming at Smithville Lake, playing golf at five area golf courses or enjoying the amenities at seven community parks. The new Liberty Sports Complex houses 21 playing fields and two play grounds.
A business culture also thrives in Liberty. In addition to a healthy retail community, the city boasts two, large industrial parks—the Liberty Industrial Park and Heartland Meadows. Major employers are Hallmark Distribution Center, Liberty Hospital, Banta Publications, Price Chopper and Ferrell Companies.
Add civic pride, community spirit and affordable housing with cultural and recreational opportunities galore and it equals an excellent quality of life for the residents of Liberty.
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