Though Liberty Square is made up of historic buildings dating to the 1800s, it is a city with its eyes to the future.
“I’ve seen the square transform and actually become a place we can go. Some days, we just walk around and have a shopping day,” said Liberty native Courtney Tankesley as she ate breakfast at the Morning Day Cafe. “Before we couldn’t really do that.”
The square has undergone a $5 million renovation, which included wider sidewalks, plantings and benches and fixes to the underground infrastructure. But the revitalization also includes an array of shops and restaurants keeping foot traffic bustling.
Hammerhand Coffee is bright and modern inside, and on Wednesday mornings it’s where Janie Einerson, Kayla Decker and Dawn Shannon gather with their children over coffee. “Over the last year so much has changed, and it’s so much more of a community,” Einerson said.
Another newcomer is Wild Juniper, specializing in handmade accessories like turbans and tassel necklaces. Racheal Burnett and Erin Talley began the business online. “When we started online one of our dreams was to have a shop on the square,” Burnett said.
In addition to the fresh faces, some veterans keep the square anchored with a small-town community feel. Inside Mace Shoe Repair, Daryl Mace repairs shoes by hand the same way his father did before him. The shop has been on the square since 1940.
Another staple is La Costa Mexicana, serving homemade Mexican fare like the Trio Enchiladas: one chicken enchilada with red sauce, one ground beef enchilada with green sauce and a spinach enchilada with cheese sauce and avocado.
And offering a true connection to history is the Jesse James Bank Museum, the site of Jesse James’ first bank robbery on Feb. 13, 1866. The museum offers a glimpse into Liberty’s past with a restored bank lobby complete with the original vault.
So whether it’s breakfast at the Morning Day Cafe or Huey’s on the Square or shopping at one of the many boutiques, Liberty offers a little bit of everything against the backdrop of history.