West Liberty, Iowa is a dynamic town situated almost halfway between Muscatine and Iowa City. In a location that could easily serve as just a commuter community, the residents of West Liberty, Iowa have stepped forward and revitalized their city, most notably their downtown.
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Even though the city has a population north of 3,700, West Liberty, Iowa supports and maintains its own school district. In fact, the West Liberty high school was ranked the best in Iowa by U.S. News & World Report in 2018. The schools offer a bilingual education to all students starting at a young age to promote a more in-depth education and to reflect its population, which is one of the most diverse of any town in Iowa.
In addition to the thriving main street and school district, West Liberty has a country club, a theatre and a community pool. The Muscatine County Fairgrounds is located in the town and hosts the fair every year.
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West Liberty, Iowa was originally called Wapsinonoc Township and was located about half a mile north of its current location. It was moved to its current location when the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific and Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railroads were built and intersected each other where the town stands now.
The city was incorporated as West Liberty, Iowa in 1868 and was named after Liberty, Ohio where most of the settlers lived before moving.
During its history, the railroad drove the development and growth of West Liberty. Recently, it has been the community members. Their downtown is on the list of historic places, and the town has started a WeLead organization with the mission to help support business growth.
Parks: There are eight beautiful parks within West Liberty. They include the Dutton Sports Complex, which opened in 2011 and contains softball and baseball fields, tennis courts, a batting cage and more. Another popular park is Kimberly Park, which has a playground and the seasonal community pool. The pool features a water slide and diving board. Residents can reserve the pool for a party on a first come, first served basis.
Jeff’s Market: You can visit Jeff’s Market for your regular shopping needs or check out their specialties, which include ingredients (especially meat) for wonderful Mexican recipes. In fact, you can buy a variety of Mexican dishes there too, including tamales and street tacos. This store is a town favorite!
New Strand Theatre: “The Traveling Salesman” was the first production at the theatre, which opened in 1910. Back then, like today, the residents of West Liberty were the ones who funded the project to improve the town. From opening night, the theater has seen hundreds of acts, including famous Vaudeville actors and actresses. Recent renovations started in 2007, and now the movie theatre that hosts $5 matinees and $6 evening shows is still a point of pride in the community.
Muscatine County Fairgrounds and West Liberty Raceway: These fairgrounds host the largest event of the year for West Liberty – the Muscatine County Fair. It takes place in July and is packed with contests, entertainment and food. Other activities throughout the year have included pro wrestling, demo derby, concerts, dirt bike exhibitions and more.
The raceway is on the National Registry of Historic Places, because it converted from a horse raceway to cars in 1960. Now owned by Farley Speedway Promotions, the course is a dirt race track and many consider it the best in the state.