Truman Historic Walking Trail

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TRUMAN HISTORIC WALKING TRAIL In the early 1990s, the City of Independence developed plans for a series of historic walking trails to celebrate our rich heritage of memorable events and remarkable


individuals. The Truman Historic Walking

Harry S Truman Home

Trail is one of the series. From humble

No one liked a good walk better than Independence’s own, Harry Truman. Throughout his life, President Truman would keep a fashionable pace everywhere he went. To honor his enduring love of walking and history, his hometown has put together the Truman Historic Walking Trail. Consisting of 43 memorable sites, the trail features

beginnings that envisioned marking eight or nine principle sites associated with the life of Harry Truman, the plan grew into a comprehensive trail comprised of 43 stops. The sites include homes of Truman’s friends, associates and even two trees. To walk the entire trail is a healthy trip around the city. You may want to park and take in the sites out of sequence. We hope you enjoy all of our Truman Sites.

important places in the life of America’s 33rd President. Included along the way are landmarks and homes of Truman’s friends and associates, each marked by a descriptive plaque noting its significance. Harry’s pace

For more information contact the Independence Tourism Department (800) 325-7890 •

may have been too fast to enjoy all the sites, but we invite you to join us for a delightful trip down memory lane.

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The walking trail is made possible by the generosity of the donors listed on each plaque.



1. Fire Station NO. 1 223 North Main Built in 1928, this building was renovated for use as the visitor center for the National Park Service’s Harry S Truman National Historic Site in 1983 – 84. 2. 1859 Jail and Marshal’s Home 217 North Main Open for tours by the Jackson County Historical Society. The two-story brick house on the street was home for the Marshal and the two-story stone jail is attached to the rear of the house. The early 20th century two-story brick addition is now used for offices and museum exhibit space and the original kitchen is the gift shop. 3. Clinton Drugstore Building 100 West Maple Constructed by G. W. Clinton as a commercial block after fire destroyed the earlier building in 1906. Clinton Drugstore relocated into the corner building after the fire.


4. Jackson County Courthouse 112 West Lexington The 1932 – 33 renovation and expansion plans bear the name of Harry S Truman as presiding judge. This building incorporates parts of all preceding brick courthouses on this site from 1832 to 1932.


5. Truman Barber Shop 417 West Maple (Private) The original shop was located at 214 North Main Street. This brick shop addition to the Miller Home was made about 1965, and their shop moved here. George was Harry’s barber and Doris was Bess’s hairdresser.

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6. Truman Memorial Building 416 West Maple Formerly known as the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, Harry Truman, a World War I veteran and civic leader, oversaw its dedication on July 4, 1926. This building designed by architect Alonzo H. Gentry and built by M.T. Colgan, served as a


community center until it closed in 1996. After extensive renovations, it was reopened in 2002 once again honoring those who defended our freedom. The facility was renamed after Independence’s favorite son Harry Truman. Today it is used for community meetings, programs and special events; and honors veterans and their service with the Veterans Video Program in Veterans Hall, and the Wall of Honor, located in the Memorial Courtyard. 7. First Presbyterian Church 100 North Pleasant Designed by the firm of Nier, Hogg and Byram and built by local contractors Christian Yetter and J. W. Adams in 1888. Features three elaborate rose windows in gable ends. The education wing was added in 1924. 8. Bundschu House 601 West Maple (Private) Built for Anton J. Bundschu around 1890 and remodeled by the family after 1907 to update the home and make it less Victorian. The Bundschu Store was built by this family on the east side of the Square in 1928.

9. Ginkgo Tree 611 West Maple A registered historic tree first marked by the Independence Garden Club in 1931. Truman was fond of this old tree and often told it that it was doing a good job on his walks.

Fire Station No. 1

10. Joseph T. Noland House 216 North Delaware Constructed over a 25-year period between the late 1850s and the 1880s, this house was lived in by Harry Truman’s relatives, the

Jackson County Courthouse

Nolands, from 1900 through 1986. It is now owned by the National Park Service as part of Harry S Truman National Historic Site.

11. Truman Home 219 North Delaware Built by Bess Truman’s grandfather George Porterfield Gates and finished in 1885. Bess, her brothers and mother moved to her grandfather’s home in 1904 after the death of her father. Upon his marriage to Bess, Harry Truman also moved in. The house remained in the Truman name until Bess Truman’s death in 1982. It is now owned by the National Park Service as part of Harry S Truman National Historic Site. 12. Leonard/Choplin House 304 North Delaware (Private) Built as a small brick two-room house in 1853. The Italianate twostory brick front was added in 1858. Home to a number of families prior to 1921, it was occupied by the Choplin family for over 70 years. It was damaged in 1994 when the front wall collapsed because of foundation drainage problems and was successfully rehabilitated through community efforts.

13. Buchanan House 310 North Delaware (Private) Spanish Colonial Revival House built in 1926 as a duplex for Mrs. Ella W. Buchanan and her daughter and son-in-law, Frances and Ora C. Myers. Purchased by P. D. and Pearle Bush in 1945 who later deeded it to their twin daughters Virginia and Elizabeth Bush. Elizabeth married Carl H. Sapper Jr. in 1955. They lived there until the property sold in 1992 to LaVonne E. Moore. 14. Compton House 318 North Delaware (Private) Built by architect builder Robert L. McBride in 1913 and occupied by the Sollars family in the 1910s; the Dunn family in the 1920s and 1930s; Polly Compton in the 1960s and 1970s. A good example of craftsman/prairie style architecture. 15. No Plaque Installed

16. Kelly/Etzenhouser House 426 North Delaware (Private) The Kelly family moved into this 1910 home built for the

Baldwin family. Charles Kelly was a Jackson County deputy sheriff for several years. It is a four square craftsman style home that has a hipped roof with bellcast eaves.

17. Sawyer/Jennings House 510 North Delaware (Private) Built in 1887 as designed by T. B. Smith for the Aaron Sawyer family. Aaron’s son, Lock H. Sawyer, sold the house to the Frank Jennings family in the early 1920s. It was honored by the Jackson County Historical Society in 1976 for their preservation efforts. Rehabilitated in 1995, it is one of the few brick Queen Anne houses remaining in Independence.

18. Bostian House 602 North Delaware (Private) An 1887 frame Queen Anne that was built by W. T. Cooper and was home to Maria J. Fletcher, a widow who took in boarders. The house was sold to the Bostians in 1905.

19. Bess Truman Home Site 610 North Delaware (Private) This stately old Burr Oak once stood in the front yard of Wallace Home before that house was replaced by the present building in 1922. Bess Wallace and her parents lived on this site from 1887 to 1903. Bess and her mother moved into the Gates/Wallace House at 219 N. Delaware that year.

26. Mize Peters House 631 North Delaware (Private) Built circa 1905 and home to several families before Mize R. Peters lived here from 1924 to the early 1950s. He ran a drug store on the Courthouse Square.

34. Noel House 409 North Pleasant (Private) Large frame Queen Anne Home built by Colonel William F. Hearne about 1890 and sold by his daughter to her niece, Maggie Noel and James Noel. The Noel family retained control of this property until 1998 when it was donated to Preservation Renaissance of Independence for resale with preservation covenants. The property was totally rehabilitated in 1999 – 2001 by the present owners.

41. George Wallace House 605 West Truman Road (Private) Bungalow built for Bess Truman’s brother, George Wallace, and his wife, May, in 1916. The property was once part of the Gates/Wallace/ Truman home grounds. It is now owned by the National Park Service as part of Harry S Truman National Historic Site.

38. Minor House 314 North Spring (Private) 1885 Victorian house with a mixture of architectural elements from the Italianate, Second Empire and Stick styles. This two-and-one-half story house has a complex mansard roof, gabled dormers, decorative bracket under the eaves and a wrap around porch. The Minor family acquired the property in 1900 and the Minor sisters lived here until 1982.

43. Truman Boyhood Home 909 West Waldo (Private) 1886 Queen Anne home to young Harry Truman for six years. The area around this house changed from rural to urban after the Truman family left in 1902. The house was changed with the addition made to the east end and the removal of the wrap around porch. What had been garden and carriage house areas are now other home sites.

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Truman Presidential Museum & Library



33. Mitchell House 414 North Pleasant (Private) Frame Independence Cross Gable house built circa 1908 by the John W. Kerr family, but purchased by Rueben B. Mitchell by 1916. He purchased Fred Shelton’s interest in the C. Ott and Sons Funeral Home which became Mitchell and Ott. The Mitchell family lived here until after 1954.



25. Sea/Hare House 633 North Delaware (Private) 1937 Tudor Revival house built for Hiram and Julie Sea. He was a lawyer who worked as manager of the John Sea Abstract Company. The George M. Hare family purchased this house in 1951. It was sold out of the Hare family in 2001.

32. Bridges House 423 North Delaware (Private) Prairie style Four Square House built circa 1905 for the Burton family, but by the early teens, the Joseph E Bridges family lived here. The Bridges ran a grocery store on the Square for 25 years and he was a member of City Council for 20 years. The family owned the house into the 1950s.

44. Harpie Club 101 North Main (Upper floors private) Independence Harmonicon Society met on the upper floors of this building. The building was remodeled and enlarged around 1921 for the Farmers and Merchants Bank on the first floor. After the bank closed, the building housed a drug store, a confectionary store a paint store, a grocery store and a loan company at street level. Professional offices were located on the upper floors.



24. Stewart House 635 North Delaware (Private) A 1937 frame house that was home to the Stewarts for several decades. Byron A. Stewart was co-owner of the Stewart Electric Company and an attorney with partner John W. Clements.

31. Burrus House 503 North Delaware (Private) Frame Italianate house is one of the older houses on Delaware, dating to the 1870s. The Symington family lived here at the turn of the 20th century. By 1924, Olney and Sadie Bell Burrus resided here. He was Truman’s father’s attorney and his son Rufus was attorney for Harry S Truman.

37. First Baptist Church 500 West Truman Road Original section of the First Baptist Church was built in 1895 by the congregation after the earlier building was destroyed by fire. This building, sited at the end of the original Pleasant Street, is an imposing structure when approached from the south. It has had several additions over the years.

40. Trinity Episcopal Church 409 North Liberty Built in 1881. The Boston architectural firm of Sturgis and Brigham are credited with the design of the early Gothic Revival Church. Local contractors William M. Randall did the brick work, P. Morgan did the foundation and J. W. Adams was the carpenter. Harry and Bess were married here on June 28, 1919; Margaret Truman married Clifton Daniel on April 21, 1956 and Mrs. Truman’s funeral was held here in 1982.


23. Truman Library & Museum US 24 Hwy & North Delaware Designed by Gentry and Voscamp and Neild and Somdal of Louisiana. Henry J. Massman and Salvatore Patti companies built it in 1956 – 57. In 1967, a southern wing for offices was added and the courtyard was enclosed in 1972. A major renovation and expansion was completed in 2001.

30. Duke House 511 North Delaware (Private) Frame Italianate house that was built circa 1885. The Hickerson family, including seven children, lived in the house until they left Independence in 1914. By 1920, William B. Duke purchased the property and lived there for several years, moved out and then again lived there in the 1940s.

36. Jackson House 300 North Pleasant (Private) Built in 1873, it was home to Nathaniel and Annie Jackson in the early 1900s. He was an electrical engineer that turned to bookkeeping and later ran an insurance agency. It was renovated in 1973.


22. The “Neck” Delaware & Bess Truman Pkwy. Refers to the African-American neighborhood that once occupied this valley. It was platted as the Hendrickson Addition, Davis Place and the Atkinson Addition between 1858 and 1888 with small narrow lots that provided space for the domestic help for middle class families of Delaware Street. McCoy Park and Bess Truman Parkway were created after the Truman Library was located to the north.

29. Spargo House 601 North Delaware (Private) Split level ranch built in 1968 for Stanley and Dorothea Spargo on the site of the earlier P.D. Bush home as part of Urban Renewal. It is one of the modern buildings built after construction of the Presidential Library.

35. Palmer House 406 North Pleasant (Private) Queen Anne frame house with a wrap around front porch. Built about 1890, the house was occupied by William L. C. Palmer, the Superintendent of Independence Schools. Both he and his wife, Ardelia, taught the Trumans. The Palmer family sold the house after spending over 100 years in it. It is currently under rehabilitation for a single family home.


21. Bullene/Choplin House 702 North Delaware (Private) A two-story Queen Anne house dating from 1887. Features many stained glass windows, a corner tower, a bay window and a wrap-around porch. Sited on a double corner lot.

28. Allen House 619 North Delaware (Private) Colonial Revival house with a gambrel roof occupied by Homer Allen into the 1930s. Rehabilitated as a single family home in 1998 – 99.

42. Frank Wallace House 601 West Truman Road (Private) Bungalow built for Bess Truman’s brother, Frank Wallace, and his wife, Natalie, in 1915. The property was once part of the Gates/Wallace/ Truman home grounds. It is now owned by the National Park Service as part of Harry S Truman National Historic Site.

39. DeWitt House 412 North Spring (Private) Italianate house built in 1885 and home to several influential Independence families in the 19th and 20th centuries. Roger J. and Mary Mildred DeWitt occupied this house for many years after 1935. Mary Mildred DeWitt purchased the Vaile Mansion and began restoration to prevent its demolition. She left the Vaile estate to the City of Independence after her death in 1983.


20. Thice/Twachman House 618 North Delaware (Private) This English Cottage house was built before 1916 for the McDavitt family who operated a drug company on the Courthouse Square. The Thice family, both practicing lawyers, lived here for several years.

27. Fullerton House 627 North Delaware (Private) Frame home for the Abraham Myers family when first built in 1918. It changed hands twice more until it was purchased by the Fullerton family.