From the archives of Liberal’s hometown newspaper since 1886.
Researched and compiled by A.J. Coleman, L&T Reporter
Liberal mayor Charles Brisendine encouraged local residents to observe Independence Day by ringing bells in the “Let Freedom Ring” observance at 1 p.m. on July 4. The observance originated in Philadelphia, where organizers planned to ring the Liberty Bell for Independence Day.
Liberal’s own “old bell” had its own story, and the newspaper described the history in a front-page article. A large bell originally installed in the Fargo Springs School, was to be rung as part of the July 4 festivities, by the Liberal Woman’s Club. The bell had moved around the county and town over the years.
The Fargo Springs school building had been constructed in 1880, and the bell was part of the building until the town was abandoned. The bell was given to “The Little White Church” (The First Christian Church) in Liberal “through the efforts of the late W. H. Feather,” the Times related. That building, constructed in 1889, sat on the corner of Fourth and Kansas.
Later, First Christian built a new facility at Third and Sherman in 1911, and the bell went with it. In 1963, on the nation’s 187th birthday, the bell would sound once more.
A smaller hand bell was scheduled to ring as well. Mrs. F.O. Rindom planned to ring an old brass hand bell brought by her husband, the late Judge F.O. Rindom, in 1908, when he came to Liberal to teach at the old Lincoln School. The bell was used at various schools until 1958, when the USD 480 Board of Education gave the bell to Mrs. Rindom.
A large advertisement urged people to “think young” on the Fourth of July by drinking Pepsi. “This is all America’s outdoor day — when people go all-out for Pepsi!” the advertisement said. “Light bracing Pepsi-Cola matches your modern activities with a sparkling-clean taste that’s never too sugary or sweet. And nothing drenches your thirst better than a cold, inviting Pepsi. So think young — say “Pepsi, please!”
On the sports page, news that Arnold Palmer, “with his fifth tour victory and a bushel basket full of money,” was headed to England for another tournament, was no surprise. Palmer had just won the Cleveland open, earning a sum that brought his 1963 earnings to more than $85,000. His 10-year total, the article said, “was an unapproached $430,323.”
Former President Ike Eisenhower made a quiet stop in his hometown in Abilene, during a trip from Gettysburg, Pa., to Denver. The visit was not a public one, though a small banner that said “Welcome Home, Ike” was hoisted at the train depot by the Chamber of Commerce.
Eisenhower visited his parents’ graves, toured the town and countryside, and visited a park near the edge of town. Later, Mrs. Eisenhower and other tour group members visited his boyhood home, spending more than a half hour in the two-story, wooden house, before they went to the museum.
The week before July 4, 1963, store owners across the state were upset about a new law that required them to close on Sundays. The “blue law” prohibited the sale of various products on Sundays. Only food, medicine and “necessary items” could be sold, under the proposed law. Seward County Attorney Harold Greenleaf was scheduled to appear on television channel 6 in a discussion about the new law.
Their worries were relieved when a Kansas District Court Judge ruled the Blue Laws unconstitutional.