Welcome to Liberty, MO

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Liberty is a city in and the county seat of Clay County, Missouri, United States and is a suburb of Kansas City, located in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. As of the 2020 United States Census the population was 30,167. Liberty is home to William Jewell College.

Liberty was settled in 1822, and shortly later became the county seat of Clay County. The city was named for the American concept of liberty.

In 1830, David Rice Atchison established a law office in Liberty. He was joined three years later by colleague Alexander William Doniphan. The two argued cases defending the rights of Mormon settlers in Jackson County, served Northwest Missouri in Missouri’s General Assembly, and labored for the addition of the Platte Purchase to Missouri’s boundaries.

In October 1838, the two were ordered by Governor Lilburn Boggs to arrest Mormon prophet Joseph Smith Jr. at the Far West settlement in Caldwell County. Immediately after the conclusion of the Mormon War, Smith and other Mormon leaders were incarcerated at the Liberty Jail for the winter as Doniphan labored for a quicker trial date. Although Doniphan led a force of Missouri volunteers ordered to capture the leaders, he defended Joseph Smith in trial and won him a change in venue. While en route to their new venue, Smith and his followers escaped and left Missouri for the new Mormon settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois.

The Arthur-Leonard Historic District, Clay County Savings Association Building, Clinton House, Dougherty-Prospect Heights Historic District, Garrison School Historic District, Frank Hughes Memorial Library, IOOF Liberty Lodge No. 49, Jewell Hall, Jewell-Lightburne Historic District, Major Hotel, Miller Building, Mt. Memorial Cemetery, Nebo Hill Archeological Site, Odd Fellows Home District, South Liberty Courthouse Square Historic District, and West Liberty Courthouse Square Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Major employers in Liberty include the Hallmark distribution warehouse. Liberty is also home to the operations headquarters for Ferrellgas, the 2nd largest retail provider of propane in the United States. The B&B Theatres corporate office is located in Liberty, the 7th largest theater chain in the U.S. While technically not in Liberty, the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant is a major employer in nearby Claycomo.

The Liberty 53 School District operates ten elementary, four middle and two senior high schools.

Liberty has a public library, a branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library.

Liberty is also home to William Jewell College, a private, four-year liberal arts college of more than 900 undergraduate students that was founded in 1849.

The Liberty Jail is now an open museum and tourist site. The Clay County Historical Society Museum features period room displays, a historic pharmacy counter, toys and dolls, model trains, tools and more.

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