As those of you who read the blog regularly know, Tom and I had a couple of detours on our trip from Arizona back to Ohio in October. We ended up staying near Kansas City Missouri for almost ten days. Six days in the QT parking lot and five days waiting for our alignment appointment. Once we got to a campground, as opposed to a parking lot, we did some exploring. One place we visited was Truman National Historic Site in Independence Missouri.
The Harry S. Truman National Historic Site is different from the Truman Presidential Library and Museum. The library and museum is one of 14 presidential libraries operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Truman National Historic Site is operated by the National park Service. I wanted my stamp, so you know which one we visited.
The Harry S. Truman National Historic Site has a small visitor center located in an old fire station in downtown Independence. Aside from a short movie on Harry and Bess Truman after his presidency, the visitor center wasn’t very informative. Of course, that is what we get for skipping the library and museum.
We did get a map of Independence and the landmarks relating to the Trumans. The tours of the Truman house were full for the day, so we had to content ourselves with looking at the outside of the house. This is the house where the Trumans lived before and after Harry’s presidency. Bess grew up in the house and they shared it, for a time, with her parents.
We walked by the beautiful house which was donated to the National Park Service by the Truman daughter, Margaret. We also saw the Noland and Wallace houses where uncles and aunts and cousins lived. The First Presbyterian church where Harry and Bess met when they were six years old was another local landmark. We walked by the Clinton Drugstore where they share sodas and saw Trinity Episcopal Church where they got married.
After thoroughly exploring the historic Independence, Tom and I headed south to see the Truman family farm in Grandview. Today the farm house and 11 acres of the 600 acre farm are preserved. Although the buildings on the farm are closed there were some interesting waysides that described how hard the Trumans worked. Today most of the farm is a shopping center which Harry Truman dedicated in 1957. He said, “Progress pays no attention to individuals.”
Tom and I left the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site having seen the buildings where Harry lived, but feeling like we didn’t know much about the man. I will have to look for a good biography of Truman to correct that.