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Liberal, Kansas
—  City  —
Location of Liberal, Kansas
Coordinates: 37°2′36″N 100°55′41″W / 37.04333°N 100.92806°W / 37.04333; -100.92806
Country United States
State Kansas
County Seward
 - Total 11.2 sq mi (29.0 km2)
 - Land 11.1 sq mi (28.6 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 2,835 ft (864 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 19,666
 - Density 1,778.4/sq mi (686.6/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 67901, 67905
Area code(s) 620
FIPS code 20-39825[1]
GNIS feature ID 0470667[2]

Liberal is a city in Seward County, Kansas, United States. The population was 19,666 at the United States Census 2000. It is the county seat of Seward County.[3]



S. S. Rogers built the first house in what would become Liberal in 1872. Rogers would give water to travelers, who in turn told him something to the effect, 'that is very liberal of you.'[4] In 1885 Rogers built a general store, and with it came an official U.S. Post Office, which needed a name. Rogers named the post office 'Liberal'. After the railroad was built close by, a plan for the town site was created in 1888. A year later the population was around 800.[4]

Drought would cause some farmers to give up and look for more fertile territory. When the Indian Territory was opened, more settlers headed to the cheap land that would become Oklahoma.[4]

Gas was discovered west of town, in what would become part of the massive Panhandle-Hugoton Gas Field, in 1920. Oil would be discovered southwest of town in 1951. In 1963 the largest helium plant in the world, National Helium, was opened.[4]


Agriculture and Energy are the main economic drivers of the area. Hard winter wheat, broom corn, and cattle ranching are the main industries in the area, with milo, alfalfa, sugar beets, and feed stock for cattle and hogs, also being produced. The largest employer in town is beef processing company National Beef Packing, employing around 3,000 workers. Two major feedlots are prominent in town, Cattlco Liberal and Supreme Feeders. Oil, gas, and helium have also brought in capital to the local economy over the past century. The city has scheduled airline service at Liberal Municipal Airport.


Liberal is located at 37°2′36″N 100°55′41″W / 37.04333°N 100.92806°W / 37.04333; -100.92806 (37.043418, -100.928133)[5].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.2 square miles (29.0 km²), of which, 11.1 square miles (28.6 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (1.25%) is water.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1910 1,716
1920 3,613 110.5%
1930 5,294 46.5%
1940 4,410 −16.7%
1950 7,134 61.8%
1960 13,813 93.6%
1970 13,862 0.4%
1980 14,911 7.6%
1990 16,573 11.1%
2000 19,666 18.7%
Est. 2007 20,128 2.3%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 19,666 people, 6,498 households, and 4,756 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,778.4 people per square mile (686.5/km²). There were 7,014 housing units at an average density of 634.3/sq mi (244.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 63.56% White, 4.21% African American, 0.72% Native American, 3.25% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 24.93% from other races, and 3.27% from two or more races. 43.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,498 households out of which 42.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.0% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.8% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.46.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.7% under the age of 18, 12.1% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 104.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.3 males. The median income for a household in the city was $36,482, and the median income for a family was $41,134. Males had a median income of $29,315 versus $22,017 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,108. About 14.3% of families and 17.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.8% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.




Liberal has one daily newspaper, The Southwest Daily Times, published since 1886.[6][7]


The following radio stations are licensed to Liberal:


Frequency Callsign[8] Format[9] Notes
1270 KSCB Talk
1470 KSMM Oldies


Frequency Callsign[10] Format[9] Notes
96.3 K242AK Public NPR; Translator of KANZ, Garden City[11]
100.5 K263AQ AOR Translator of KKBS, Guymon, Oklahoma
101.5 KSMM-FM Regional Mexican
102.7 KLDG Country
105.1 KZQD Spanish Variety
107.5 KSCB-FM 80's Hits


The following television station is licensed to Liberal:

Digital Channel Analog Channel Callsign[12] Network Notes
41 KLKT-LP America One


The fifth largest collection of civilian and military aircraft in the United States is located at the Mid-America Air Museum. Started with a gift of 50 planes by Colonel Tom Thomas Jr. the museum has over 100 aircraft. [13]

The Seward County Museum has items from the Native Americans that lived in the area, as well as items from Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's expedition to the area in 1541, and the history of farming and ranching in the county in more recent times.[14]

The local semi-pro baseball team, the Bee Jay's, have won the national championship four times. [15]

Former Major League Baseball player and Manager Mike Hargrove who is a former Bee Jays player will spend the summer of 2008 as the Manager of the Liberal Bee Jays. The news of this sparked national media attention. The Sporting News will be spending opening week in Liberal to write a feature on Hargrove managing the Bee Jays. His pay for the summer will be just $1. Hargrove managed the Cleveland Indians to two World Series appearances. He also managed the Baltimore Orioles and most recently managed the Seattle Mariners.

Liberal is famous for its annual Pancake Day race that is held in competition with the town of Olney, England for the fastest time between both cities.

Liberal is also home to The Land of Oz From The Wizard Of Oz exhibit, a recreation of Dorothy's house and the famed Yellow Brick Road, featuring donated bricks bearing the names of such luminaries as Senator Bob Dole, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and Liza Minnelli.

In the movie "National Lampoon's Vacation" Clark W. Griswold mentions departing the route of travel to Liberal to see the world's largest house of mud. The idea is rejected by his wife, Ellen, in favor of getting to her cousin Eddie's home.

Clark: I was thinking of taking a detour to Liberal.

Ellen: What for?

Clark: The House of Mud.

Audrey (Griswold's daughter): What's that?

Clark: The largest, freestanding mud dwelling ever built! [16]

Composer Mark So wrote his "LIBERAL PLAIN SONG for Joseph Kudirka" (2005) while stopped at a gas station in Liberal. [1]

Notable natives and residents


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  4. ^ a b c d History: Over One Hundred Years of Being "Liberal" - at City of
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  6. ^ "About this Newspaper: The Southwest daily times". Chronicling America. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-09-09.  
  7. ^ "About this Newspaper: The Fargo Springs news". Chronicling America. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-09-09.  
  8. ^ "AMQ AM Radio Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2009-09-09.  
  9. ^ a b "Station Information Profile". Arbitron. Retrieved 2009-09-09.  
  10. ^ "FMQ FM Radio Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2009-09-09.  
  11. ^ "HPPR Signal Map". High Plains Public Radio. Retrieved 2009-09-09.  
  12. ^ "TVQ TV Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2009-09-09.  
  13. ^ Mid-America Air Museum - at
  14. ^ Seward County Museum
  15. ^ Bee Jay's at
  16. ^ [ ]

External links


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