You'll begin by walking west on Kansas Street and returning down Franklin. By walking opposite of the traffic flow you will see the neighborhood from a different vantage point.
Imagine that it's a pleasant 1943 springtime Sunday in Liberty. Officer Bob Barker (later known as host of "The Price is Right") is enrolled at the Naval Aviation Reserve Unit V-5 Flight training squadron housed at William Jewell College. He is in one of several groups of 600 young officers who are rotating through the college each semester for much of World War II.
Officer Barker and a local sweetheart have enjoyed a delicious Saturday lunch at Miller's Café on the Square. Barker and date decide to stroll to the edge of the city. Let's walk along with them on this 1943 springtime afternoon.
218 West Kansas (c. 1857) The Garth House
Built in 1857 from bricks that were burned on the grounds. Originally part of a farm complex on the western edge of Liberty. Bought by William Garth in 1859 and remained in the family for 62 years. Garth was a Mexican War veteran, went west in the California gold rush, and served as a state representative. (Garth's father and two other men founded the University of Missouri.)
232 West Kansas (c. 1890) The Raymond House
Richard L. Raymond was a farmer and cattle raiser. He lived in this house with his three daughters until 1909, when he built the "modern" house on the back of the lot (233 W. Franklin). The house is a cross-gable Queen Anne residence with original Eastlake detailing (mass-produced spindle work in the turned porch supports and the porch frieze).
233 West Kansas (1908)
A nearly pristine example of the regional adaptation of the Prairie style into the vernacular "Shirtwaist" for its contrasting wall treatments on each floor and boxy shape. The youngest of the current residents is the fifth generation to live in this house.
253 West Kansas (1907) (Mrs.) Gray House
Coleman Younger (uncle of the Younger in the James Gang) owned the lot in 1849. Later the lot was purchased and the house built by William H. Thomason, the sheriff of Clay County who tried to track down the James Gang. In 1908, Mrs. Gray, principal for many years at nearby Franklin School, moved in.
302 West Kansas (c. 1890) Pence Place
One of the few masonry Queen Anne residences. White stone lintels and sills around the windows contrast with the red brick. The recessed attic windows have Eastlake detailing. Both porches have free-classic detailing, such as the dentials under the porch frieze and the round column porch supports. The Pence Place is believed to be located on the site where the Presbyterian Church was founded in 1829. At the rear (north) are brick remnants of the original fruit or root cellar.
305 West Kansas (c. 1850) Dougherty House
The original brick, side-gable Greek Revival residence has undergone many alterations and additions through the years. This was one of the first homes west of the Square and was built for Dr. William Dougherty, a physician and surgeon. Dougherty was a city councilman, mayor, and one of the organizing members of the Liberty Methodist Episcopal Church. As a state legislator he introduced a bill that established the State Board of Health and worked on bills authorizing benevolent insurance companies in Missouri. The house (although modified) is significant as an example of a modest home of a prominent early settler of Liberty.
316, 320, 324 West Kansas (1926, 1924, 1924)
320 and 324 were built as spec houses for $5000 each. 316 was built two years later for $5400. The main roof extends over the full front porch, which has square columns. Wide overhanging eaves with two triangular knee braces, common to the Craftsman house, in the gable end.
334 West Kansas (c. 1890)
An excellent example of a small Queen Anne residence. Considered Queen Anne because of its varied and irregular rooflines, all steeply pitched, and irregular floor plan.
400 West Kansas (c. 1880)
Actually a transitional house, which is Italianate in nature, but has some French and other influences. The higher pitch roof indicates a later construction date than most Italianate buildings.
419 West Kansas (1912-13) "La France"
Significant as the former home of Elder Fred V. Loos, also known as the "Parson". Served as pastor of the Liberty Christian Church until 1898. As a humanitarian he would meet the freight trains with food for the hobos. It is said he performed over 6200 marriages and wrote 700 obituaries. The house is barely visible from the street due to the mature evergreen trees (said to be planted by Loos' son who brought them as saplings from Colorado). Exuberant in its Craftsman detailing. Variety of wall treatments-wood shingles on the first floor, stucco in the gable ends, and false timbering in both areas.
426 West Kansas (1912)
A vernacular example of the Prairie style of house. Low-pitched hipped roof with widely overhanging eaves, 4/1 windows, a full two-story porch with square, clapboard columns and a porch door on the second floor. The clapboards are narrower on the second floor.
504 West Kansas (1912)
Vernacular/ American foursquare
The large flat lawn to the left (west) of the house was used as a tennis court.
509 West Kansas (1912)
A stucco wall on Tudors was common on the modest examples built before the 1920's. (Wood frame could most easily be disguised by applying stucco cladding.)
523 West Kansas (1910)
Noteworthy for its fine detailing. The wrap-around front porch has corner stone columns. The porch frieze has false timbering and flat brackets. Divided into apartments prior to World War II. This stretch of the tour provides fine examples of stone retaining walls on the south side of the street.
You are now at Fairview and see the Liberty Junior High School. In 1943 and without the several additions, this was the Liberty High School.
Earlier the Liberty Ladies College was on this site. It's 1852 beginning left footprints in several locations around the town and ended with a building on this location in 1890 that burned in a dramatic 1913 fire.
Walk up the steps to the landing of the Jr. High School. (Or you can drive to the landing after the tour). Look east for a dramatic view. This view summarizes Liberty for many of its residents. The Jr. High School heritage indicates the strong interest in public education tracing back more than a century. Prior to this building was the (pictured) Liberty Female College that burned in 1913.
Off in the distance you will see Jewell Hall finished in 1858 and the first building on the William Jewell College campus. William Jewell College has enriched this community since its start in 1849. Original trustees included Col. Alexander Doniphan* and Rev. Robert James**.
In the middle is the Clay County Courthouse revealing the importance of Liberty as a county seat of thriving Clay County. (A piece of local trivia: the U.S. flag was removed from then existing courthouse in 1864 "in respect to Clay County sympathizers of the Confederacy", and it was not until 1912 that the U.S. flag was raised again on the courthouse flag pole.) Between the Courthouse and where you now stand are neighborhoods reflecting the range of residents in Liberty and the generations of housing where they have lived.
* In 1838, Doniphan, as brigadier general of the state militia, was ordered against the Mormons by the governor but flatly refused to carry out orders to execute Joseph Smith and other Mormon leaders. 1846-47 Doniphan emerged as a Mexican war hero.
** James is also known around here as the father of Jesse and Frank.
Resume your walking tour by walking east down Franklin Street.
519 West Franklin (1908) Presbyterian manse
Built in 1908 for Rev. Hugh McClintic, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, by funds provided for in Mary Elizabeth Dorsey's will. The will provided each of Liberty's four Protestant Churches with $6000 each for a home for their pastors. This was the only one built west of the Square. Purchased in 1961 by Joe and Elenore Walley, local newspaper publishers and community activist. Now occupied by the Walley's grandson and family.
516 West Franklin (1908) Costello/ Hendren House
A nice example of the eclecticism of domestic suburban architecture. Built by James Costello, an original lumber mill owner in town. It was later the home of Dr. Glenn Hendren, Liberty's key physician during the 40's, 50's and 60's. The Ward Compton family lived in this house from 1969-1982.
500 West Franklin (c. 1910)
Craftsman bungalow Whiteside House
A pristine example of a Craftsman bungalow. Built by James Whiteside, whose jewelry business continues on the Historic Liberty Square. The two sisters who owned the house during World War II allegedly used the house to "entertain" soldiers.
444 & 429 West Franklin (1926)
429 was built for the Misses McKinleys in 1926 for $6000. 444 was built for $5000. Excellent examples of a gabled roof substyle of the Colonial Revival style, which is simple two-story rectangular block. The symmetrically balanced façade has an accentuated front door, with a portico supported by fluted columns.
347 and 343 West Franklin (1924)
duplex with Craftsman details
Both were built as apartments in 1924 for $7500 apiece. The full-length two-story front porches with wide, overhanging porch eaves and massive square brick columns have e Prairie/Craftsman feeling. The second floor clapboards are much narrower, as are the closely spaced 2nd floor porch railings.
408 West Franklin (c. 1895)
Vernacular gable front and wing
Sometimes identified as Queen Anne due to the irregular roof form, wrap-around front porch, and bays that were used to avoid a smooth-walled surface. The porch columns are Craftsman- square tapering supports set on stone piers.
402 West Franklin (c. 1890)
Typical of high style Queen Anne houses, this residence has many devices that were used to avoid a flat-wall surface. The one story wrap-around porch has elaborate Eastlake detailings such as arched porch entry with corner sunbursts, spindle work frieze, columns and rails, and lace-like brackets.
322 West Franklin (c. 1900)
The free-form and variable house has features expressive of several styles. Notice also the stone retaining wall in this section of West Franklin.
Take about five minutes and turn left to notice three distinctive houses on N. Morse
108 N. Morse (1910)
A good example of a high style Prairie home. Two-story hipped-roof mass contrasted with dominant, but lower, wings and porches with hipped roof. The asymmetrical façade has a horizontal row of windows on the first story. The front porch has massive stone columns and rails for the wrap-around porch. The overhanging eaves are set off by plain frieze bands, further emphasizing the horizontality.
118 N. Morse (1928)
An excellent example of the Tudor style, which became extremely popular in this country in the 1920's and 1930's.
127 N. Morse (c. 1910)
This side-gabled Craftsman roof extends to cover the full-length front porch. The porch has tapered square wood columns on brick piers and simple square porch rails. The roof has open eaves with triangular braces; the gable front dormer has exposed rafters and brackets on the rake edge. The more modest homes situated closer to the street lends character to the historic neighborhood.
Retrace your steps on Morse back to West Franklin and take a left to complete the final block.
242 West Franklin (c. 1850, 1867, 1871)
Dimmitt- Italianate Ringo-Dougherty House
Significant for its role in Liberty's history. Originally built by St. Clair Dimmitt between 1846 and 1856, it underwent modifications by subsequent owners wishing to enlarge and update it. Beginning in 1946 it served for four years as the residence of the President of William Jewell College. There is a gable roofed, brick outbuilding/kitchen with two fireplaces, arched window openings, and a diamond patterned vent in the rear elevation bricks.
245 West Franklin (c. 1890)
Queen Anne cottage
Characterized by whipped roof with cross gables and shed roof additions. Owned by the Gilmer family for over 75 years. Mrs. Gilmer used the front room for piano lessons for countless children in Liberty through the years. Notice the similarity to the yellow cottage just to the south on Kansas.
222 West Franklin (1911-13) Allen House
Built for Schuball and Mary Dinah Allen. His grandfather, Col. Schuball Allen, was one of Clay County's first settlers coming here from New York in 1820. Col. Allen established a landing and ferry on the Missouri River which was the main point of commerce in northwest Missouri. The house is noteworthy for its use of multi-colored brick detailing which emphasizes the second story, particularly around the windows. Designed by architect Horace LaPierre.
116 West Franklin (1924)
In a prominent corner lot on the northeast corner of the Dougherty District. The extended gable roof covers the full-length front porch. The tapering square wood columns are set on brick piers.
Your walking tour of the Dougherty District has come to a close. Walk up the slight hill to the Historic Liberty Square. On the west side of the Courthouse is our Statue of Liberty marking a memorial to those from Clay County who died in World War I. On the northeast corner is a common water fountain symbolizing the goal of racial unity near the location where slaves were sold in the early to mid-1800's. We hope you enjoyed your stroll through one of the five historic neighborhood districts of Liberty. Enjoy a refreshment time at By The Book, Cupini's, Cajun Tony's or Los Compos (each near where Miller's Café would have served Officer Bob Barker and his date during World War II) and visit the shops around Historic Downtown Liberty.