From the archives of Liberal’s hometown newspaper since 1886.
Researched and compiled by Amira Coleman, L&T Reporter
British Consul searches for missing war bride
An empty grain elevator in Tyrone (Okla.) caught fire and burned overnight into early Sunday morning, creating a fire that was visible for miles in early spring, 1964. Its glow was “clearly visible from both Liberal and Hooker (Okla.)” the Times reported.
Though the fire was discovered and the alarm turned in at Tyrone at 11:45 p.m., it appeared the elevator had been burning for quite some time.
The fire destroyed an empty frame and metal grain elevator. The elevator had a 25,000 bushel capacity, and belonged to F.A. Taylor of Baker, Okla.
The collapse of the elevator threw debris onto the Rock Island Railroad tracks, and lit some railroad ties on fire. Firemen from Liberal and Hooker helped get the ruins of the fire cooled off, as there was not much else they could do.
United States Air Force scientists visited Liberal as part of their search for a temporary site to conduct a special meteorological project, which was to include measuring moisture evaporation from soil and crop surfaces. They hoped to lease land in the area that would be suitable for their experiments.
Scientists Duane A. Haugen and Maj. Donald W. Stevens worked for the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories. By early May, the Times had not yet reported whether or not the Air Force men had succeeded in their project.
Local healthcare providers sponsored meetings as part of a “5-day Plan” to help Liberal citizens quit smoking. Held in the lounge room of the Liberal courthouse on Monday nights, the meetings included a viewing of the movie “Up in Smoke,” a satire on cigarettes, followed by discussion of both good and bad experiences tied to divorcing “Lady Nicotine.”
The Liberal statistical sheet revealed that 83 percent of participants in the “5-day Plan” were able to quit smoking. Paul DeBooy and Dr. T. E. Wade, the directors of the course, said they felt enthusiastic about the results of the course, and hoped more smokers would quit the habit.
The British Consul in Kansas enlisted the help of Liberal’s Chamber of Commerce and the Southwest Daily Times to track down a woman who once lived here. The woman was identified by British Consul N.M. Hallett as Mrs. Christine Dingwall Thorning, about 60 years old.
She had emigrated to the U.S. in 1922 to marry Carl Thorning. Consul Hallett claimed that Thorning’s last known address, in 1961, was supposed to be in the care of her daughter, a Mrs. Murphy, Apartment 51, Blue Bonnet Courts in Liberal.
When the Chamber of Commerce checked at Blue Bonnets, there was no record of a Thorning. The person looking for Mrs. Thorning was her brother, Charles Dingwall, of Reading, England.
Liberal residents Bonnie and Fred D. Jones, who lived at 429 New York Ave., announced plans to open the Universal Travel Agency, the town’s first travel agency May 1, 1964, in the lobby of the Warren Hotel.
The Joneses had lived in Liberal for more than seven years, with Mr. Jones working for Central Airlines. The agency would be affiliated with the Air Traffic Conference and the International Air Travel Association.