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Liberty Corners plans festival to honor history

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Trudy Urbani, past president of the Historical Society of Bedford, with the bell from First Wesleyan Methodist Church, says it is important to keep history alive for future generations.

The Blade/Andy Morrison
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LAMBERTVILLE -- Liberty Corners, a crossroads area in Lambertville, is to celebrate its 153-year history Sunday with a festival aimed at keeping the past alive.

The Liberty Corners Festival is scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m. at St. Luke's Lutheran Church. Liberty Corners is a community of about four square miles at Jackman and West Sterns roads just north of Toledo.

"We are hosting the festival as a celebration of our history, to raise the awareness of each other as neighbors, and to emphasize the idea of being a community," said the Rev. Frank Paine, pastor of St. Luke's Lutheran.

The event is to feature free food, a classic car show, area merchants' displays, a disc jockey, and children's activities such as inflatables.

Pastor Paine said about 300 people have attended the event annually since its inception in 2006. The festival was suspended in 2011 because of lack of funds, he said.

Trudy Urbani, past president of the Historical Society of Bedford and author of the Bedford Township history published in 2005, said that descendants of "all four pioneer families" attended the festival in 2010.

"You need to keep the history alive so it doesn't get lost for future generations. That's why we are doing this," she said. She went on to say that Liberty Corners was established in 1859, six years before the Civil War ended, at which time four families -- the Bibbs, Mays, Hoffmans, and Lowes -- lived on each of the four corners of the intersection of Jackman and Sterns.

The only community landmark at the time was the one-room Liberty School. A church was built diagonally to the school in 1880, she said. It was originally named the First Wesleyan Methodist Church of Bedford. Both buildings are still standing.

Pastor Paine said the origin of the community's name is unclear, but it was named in the 1850s.

There is speculation that it had to do with the nation's centennial and a national fund-raising effort for the Statue of Liberty in the 1850s and 1860s, the pastor said.

As to the expectations for the festival, the pastor said, "a lot depends on the weather, but we are certainly hoping to have several hundreds [of participants] again."

Contact Mike Sigov at: sigov@theblade.com, or 419-724-6089

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