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In Liberal Kansas -Dorothy’s House is Off the Beaten Path

| Updated Jun 19, 2023

This off-the-beaten-path report from Tom and Patti Burkett takes us to Liberal Kansas and Dorothy's house from the Wizard of Oz. Plus camping in the area and more sites to see.

Lyman Baum, who much preferred to use his middle name Frank, was a sickly child. Growing up on an estate in New York, he enjoyed writing and the theater from a young age. 
When he was twenty-four, his father built him a theater in the town of Richland, NY, but it burned to the ground less than two years later. 

Dorothy's House is from the Wizard of Oz

He was in his early forties and living in Chicago when the first Oz book was published. He followed it up with thirteen more books set in that land, and numerous plays, none of which was successful.
He spent 12 years in South Dakota, during which he was a staunch foe of its native peoples. Which is horrible, to say the least. 

Liberal Kansas is Dorothy's fictional home

In Liberal Kansas -Dorothy's House is Off the Beaten Path 1
Dorothy's house in Liberal Kansas displays her ruby red slippers
The town of Liberal, Kansas has taken on the role of Dorothy’s hometown.  Liberal hugs the Oklahoma line in the southwest corner of the state, on US 54.  If you’re driving from Hooker to Kismet, you’ll go right through it. Or take US 83 two and a half hours from either I-70 or I-40.
When you arrive at Dorothy’s house, a latter-day Dorothy greets you. Garbed in the iconic Judy Garland dress, one of several local young women will take you all through and around the house, recounting stories both from the film and about life on these remote Kansas plains. 
She’ll point out the cream separator and the bedpan she has to empty before she offers to take you out back to the Land of Oz. After passing through a simulated tornado, you arrive in the fabled country. We won’t spoil any surprises about what awaits you there.

There's more to see in Liberal Kansas

liberal kansas

If you need a bit more of Liberal, you can drive to the edge of town where the Mid-America Air Museum features over a hundred planes and other aircraft. 
Eisenhower’s Air Force One is here, the first and smallest Presidential plane, with six seats, and able to land easily on Ike’s Pennsylvania farm. Here's a great place to view the planes.
Don’t worry, there’s also a display and demonstration of ballooning. Maybe on a windy day in thunderstorm season, you could even get over the rainbow. 
The museum is also a Harvest Host location where RVers can overnight for free.

More Camping and things to see around Liberal, Kansas

old diner

If you want to stay the night in more rural digs, Arkalon Park is ten miles up the road (still in Liberal, go figure) and charges $5 for a site or $15 for a site with hookups. 
There are picnic tables, fire rings, a dump station, and a shower house with flush toilets.  If you’re headed (or coming from ) southwest, the Rita Blanca National Grasslands in western Oklahoma offers some nice no-hookup spots. 
You won’t find any cities out here, just small-town diners, cowboys and cowgirls, local rodeos, and the ubiquitous local history museum. 
Fancy seeing a jar from an Egyptian tomb? A two-headed rattlesnake? Maybe a saddle used by Jesse James? Or a used pair of ruby slippers? 
They’re all out here if you look hard enough, and stay off the beaten path. 

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In Liberal Kansas -Dorothy's House is Off the Beaten Path 2

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RV Lifestyle

Published on 2021-05-15

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