The Neutral Strip, or No Man’s Land–from J. P. Moore’s “This Strange Town–Liberal, Missouri”

Checking with the copyright catalogue, I find copyright was made in 1963 by J. P. Moore but was never renewed, which means the book has entered the public domain. The author is long since deceased.

THIS STRANGE TOWN–LIBERAL MISSOURI
A HISTORY OF THE EARLY YEARS
1880 – 1910

BY J. P. MOORE

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The Neutral Strip, or No Man’s Land

[Pages 20-21]

The Neutral Strip, referred to in the story of Waggoner’s Addition and the Barbed Wire Fence, was not necessarily so “neutral.” It was solely the property of Mr. Walser and he had the right to do with it as he pleased, so long as the use was not a public nuisance. If the fence was a nuisance is a moot question. Here is how the strip was created: In establishing the north line of his original town plot, Mr. Walser had dropped back 57 and 1/2 feet south from his property line, leaving this strip, 57 and 1/2 feet wide, and in equal length to the width of the town plat. It may be located by beginning at the Methodist church, which sits squarely upon it. Then run in both directions, east to Denton Street and west to the Missouri Pacific railroad right-of-way.

This strip remains today an unplatted island, or enclave, within the perimeter of Liberal. There is no record of this strip ever having been platted or annexed to the city as an addition.

In the earlier days of Liberal, this strip was called “No Man’s Land.”

I have the verbal opinion of a competent attorney that if there be anyone holding possession of some part of this strip, without title originating with Mr. Walser or his legal heirs, they are apparently doing so by virtue of what, in legal terminology, is called “adverse possession,” or in common vernacular “squatter’s rights,” validated by term possession. At least some of this strip has been absorbed by adjacent properties.

While the Methodist church is situated upon a segment of this strip, the church does have clear title in regular form. The story of the church will be found in more detail under the heading,”The Churches Came.”

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