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Named for the Liberal League in Lamar, Missouri, to which the town’s founder belongs, the city of Liberal is in Barton County, Missouri. The community was started as an atheist utopia in 1880 by George Walser, an anti-religious lawyer who had purchased two thousand acres of land, advertising for atheists to come and help found a town without a church, and where Christians were not allowed. Atheists came but Christians came also, determined to convert the town, buying land surrounding Liberal, prompting Walser to construct a barbed wire fence in order to keep Christians out of Liberal. So many Christians came that they created a new town adjacent to Liberal which they named Pedro, attracting movement of some houses and businesses from Liberal to Pedro. Walser himself later became a Spiritualist and, by some accounts, a Christian, authoring a book entitled, The Life and Teachings of Jesus. Pedro later became part of Liberal and, of course, the ban on Christianity was ended. Liberal is northeast of Prairie State Park, southwest of Verdella, south of Hannon, and east of the Kansas border.



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