is a town in DeKalb County
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...
, United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
. The population was 367 at the 2000 census. Liberty's main street was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...
in 1987 as the Liberty Historic District
The Liberty Historic District is a historic district in Liberty, Tennessee, United States. Encompassing 76 contributing properties in an area of , it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987....
Liberty was settled about 1797 by Adam Dale, an American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...
veteran from Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...
who built a mill on Smith Fork Creek.
Much of Main Street in Liberty is included in an historic district
In the United States, a historic district is a group of buildings, properties, or sites that have been designated by one of several entities on different levels as historically or architecturally significant. Buildings, structures, objects and sites within a historic district are normally divided...
listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Properties in the historic district include the Liberty High School, built from limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....
quarried in the area, and the Salem Baptist Church and cemetery.
The evening of March 23, 1889, Liberty was hit by a tornado that uprooted trees and caused extensive damage to homes. A local church was completely destroyed. According to records, there were no fatalities reported.
Liberty is located at 36°0′18"N 85°58′22"W (36.004959, -85.972816).
According to the United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...
, the town has a total area of 1 square miles (2.6 km²), all of it land.
As of the census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...
of 2000, there were 367 people, 160 households, and 112 families residing in the town. The population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...
was 354.5 people per square mile (136.2/km²). There were 181 housing units at an average density of 174.8 per square mile (67.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.28% White, 1.36% African American, 0.54% Asian, 0.54% from other races
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...
, and 0.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.82% of the population.
There were 160 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.1% were married couples
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...
living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4% were non-families. 27.5% 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 2.29 and the average family size was 2.70.
In the town the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 31.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 102.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $36,806, and the median income for a family was $42,031. Males had a median income of $27,750 versus $19,125 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...
for the town was $19,856. About 17.8% of families and 25.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 52.1% of those under age 18 and 20.0% of those age 65 or over.
The town of Liberty is governed by a mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....
and a board of aldermen, consisting of five members. Both the mayor and aldermen are elected by the citizenry in at-large
At-large is a designation for representative members of a governing body who are elected or appointed to represent the whole membership of the body , rather than a subset of that membership...
Allen Bluff Mule
The "Allen Bluff Mule" is a painting of a mule on a limestone bluff on U.S. Highway 70 in Liberty. The mule has been around so long, many residents are unsure of the origin of the mule. Some say a local man named Lavader Woodard painted the mule. Other residents contend that it was painted as an advertisement of a local stock farm.
In 2003 Liberty residents became upset that an expansion of U.S. Highway 70 to a four-lane road could threaten the mule painting. The residents started a letter writing campaign to the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Supporters of the mule also placed signs along the roadway stating "Save the Mule." Ultimately the road expansion was far enough away from the mule, that it was never in any danger.
The article "Historian Unravels Liberty Mule Mystery", written by Thomas G. Webb in the November 11, 2006 issue of The Smithville Review
, seems to point to Dr. Wayne T. Robinson as the original painter. The Smithville Review's
November '06 article points back to an article written by Dr. Robinson in the March 7, 1957 issue of the same paper. Link to November 11, 2006
article transcript: http://www.tngenweb.org/dekalb/mule.htm
In this March 1957 article, Dr. Robinson comments,
"In early October 1906, I climbed up the face of the Allen Bluff to a ledge and with some coal tar made a flat picture of a character from a famous comic strip of that day. Everybody remembers Maud, the mule. That was 51 years ago, and even though it has been exposed to the elements and to nearby earth-shaking explosions, erosion has dimmed it very little. On the same bluff is the name of Will T. Hale, which was inscribed about 85 years ago."
This article seems to verify that Dr. Robinson painted the original mule in 1906 as a 21-year-old college student inspired by Maud the Mule, from Frederick Burr Opper's comic strip "And Her Name Was Maud!"