Saturday, December 27, 2008

Liberty Hall

Liberty Hall (or sometimes just called "Liberty") was described in the Longmont Times-Call in 1938 as "a prosperous farming section located approximately 7 miles northeast of Longmont". Like Ryssby and Highlandlake, Liberty Hall was significant enough to have their own weekly column in the Ledger, starting in the late 1800's, covering events and comings/goings.

A great introduction to the history of Liberty Hall can be found on the excellent Historic Highlandlake web site. Highlandlake and Liberty Hall were neighbors, and it was not uncommon for residents of both communities to visit each other, and participate in their respective social activities together. Liberty Hall, for example, typically hosted dances, piano recitals, literary society meetings, church fund raisers, and the Women's Improvement Club.

Today, the remaining evidence of Liberty Hall is the Liberty Hall Grange, located on the northeast corner of Highway 66 and Weld County Road 5, a few miles west of I-25:

Today, thousands of Weld County commuters pass by the Liberty Hall Grange (Number 459) every day. Before being used as a Grange starting in 1950, this used to be the "New Pleasant Hill" school, built in 1926. The original Pleasant Hill school was opened on September 1, 1902 with two teachers: Miss Florence Baker and Arthur Butler. Again, see the history for clues on where the original school was located.

A farm next to the Grange continues the Liberty Hall name:

Finally, one of the original homesteaders of the Liberty Hall area was William John Kiteley, who arrived in the area in 1869 from Wisconsin. One of Kiteley's sons, Rae, went on to become a Longmont civic leader in government, business, and education, including serving as the mayor of Longmont, from 1910 through 1921, a school principal and superintendent, president of the Red Cross, and in many banking roles. And, you may remember that Rae's wife, Mary Kiteley, was the City Librarian from 1926 until 1945.

Another son of W. J. Kiteley, Mark, built a farm near the homestead in 1916 and became an expert in hybrid corn development. His son, Ernest, was briefly mentioned in a 1938 Longmont Times-Call article describing a Liberty Hall social gathering:
Ernest Kiteley and Raymond Newton gave a demonstration on testing corn. Plans were made to attend the Weld County Junior Fair at Greeley.
A good source for information about the Kiteley family is the book "They Came To Stay" (1971) by the St. Vrain Historical Association.

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