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Liberty Township

Liberty Township was one of five original townships established in Butler County May 10, 1803, by a court of quarter sessions. The others were Fairfield, Liberty, St. Clair and Ross. "It derives its name from the bias of its early settlers, who were men of liberal views and patriotic motives; most of them having fought against the Indians," said the 1875 atlas. Twenty years later, June 2, 1823, the lower five tiers of sections became West Chester Township (formerly Union Township). The first settlers arrived in the township in the 1796-1800 period.

There are no incorporated cities or villages entirely within the township, but several communities were established during the 19th century. They include Bethany, Clawson, Flenner's Corner, Fontana, Hughes or Hughes Station, Huntsville, Jericho, Kyles or Kyles Station, Maustown or Mausetown, Princeton and Rockdale. Part of the City of Monroe, which is mostly in Lemon Township, extends into the extreme northeast corner of Liberty Township.

Agriculture dominated the township economy through the late 20th century.

Shipping produce and livestock to markets improved with the arrival of the railroad in June 1872 and the establishment of stations at Hughes and Kyles.

The Cincinnati, Dayton & Eastern had a series of official and unofficial names: the Bee Line, the Straight Line, the Short Line and the Dayton & Cincinnati Shortline. It also has been known as the Cincinnati & Springfield Railway; the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & Indianapolis Railway; the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway; the New York Central; the Big Four; the Penn Central; Conrail and since June 1999 the Norfolk Southern. I-75 was completed through the eastern portion of the township in July 1960, but no interchanges were built within Liberty Township along the north-south interstate highway that connected Cincinnati and Dayton. I-75 took most of the through traffic off Cincinnati-Dayton Road (formerly U. S. 25) in the township.

Access to the interstate system improved when the 10.7-mile Butler County Regional Highway (Ohio 129) opened in 1999. The highway -- also known as the Michael A. Fox Highway and Butler County Veterans Highway --was financed by the sale of $158.5 million in bonds approved by the Butler County Transportation Improvement District in 1997. Construction began in 1998 on the road that extends from Hamilton on the west to I-75 on the east. The Liberty Township portion between Cincinnati-Dayton Road and I-75 opened Oct. 29, 1999. The entire roadway was completed Dec. 13, 1999. Liberty Township population in 1900 was 1,024, just 1.8 percent of the county total of 56,870. The township census remained under 2,000 under until 1950 when it reached 2,195. It increased from 3,736 inhabitants in 1970 to 6,508 in 1980 and 9,249 in 1990. The township experienced a major growth spurt in the 1990s, its population more than doubling from 9,249 to 22,819 inhabitants, representing 6.9 percent of the county total of 332,807.

The residential trend has continued into the 21st century, earning Liberty the title of the fastest-growing township in the Greater Cincinnati area by 2005.

Projections for the 2010 census are that the township will exceed 33,000 people. Commercial and business development has been concentrated along Cincinnati-Dayton Road, mostly in the southeast corner of the township near I-75, and, to a lesser extent, along Hamilton-Middletown Road (Ohio 4) in the northwest section. In 1957 the Liberty Township and Union Township schools combined to form the Liberty-Union District that in 1970 adopted the Lakota name. In 1997, Lakota High School split and the district opened two new high school buildings, Lakota East and Lakota West. The schools, each designed for 1,800 students each, cost a total of $52 million. Lakota East High School is east of Cincinnati-Dayton Road in southeast Liberty Township. Township residents and trustees have sought to have the township recognized as Liberty, Ohio, by the U. S. Postal Service instead of having mailing addresses of Hamilton, Middletown, Monroe or West Chester.

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