If you head north of the river and are a student of history, a city you should not miss is Liberty, Missouri, which was settled in 1822. It was incorporated in 1829, and is the second oldest incorporated town west of the Mississippi River. Liberty has a deep seat in American history. This designation was made in recognition of Liberty’s protection and celebration of its heritage, its use of its historic assets for economic development and community revitalization and its encouragement of people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs.
Amongst the many historic places of note is the Liberty Jail, which was built in 1833. The jail is best known for its most famous prisoner, Joseph Smith, the first president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. Additionally, Liberty is home to William Jewell College, one of the oldest private colleges in Missouri. The school was founded with a $10,000.00 donation from Dr. William Jewell of Columbia, Missouri.
Liberty today is home to five local historic districts, seven districts and seven individual properties on the National Register of Historic Places, a thriving downtown historic Square and surrounding area, three museums and many other notable sites of interest. There are four self-guided walking tours that celebrate community history, individual history, and two historic districts. The Clay County Museum is located on the historic square at 14 North Main Street and provides some incredible information regarding the history of the area. When you are finished with the museum, you can head up to Kearney, Missouri and visit the James Farm, the home of Frank and Jesse James, which also hosts the Jesse James Festival each September.