View Map

Overview

Hanging from the streetlamps of this pristine Midwest town are blue banners with a silhouette of Independence’s most famous hometown boy: Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States. The banners depict Truman as an elder statesman with his topcoat, hat and cane. Truman grew up here, and as he told reporters when leaving the White House, “Independence is where I belong.” Independence, located on the Missouri River thirty minutes outside of Kansas City, was the last civilization that settlers heading west in Conestoga wagons in the 1800s would see before crossing the prairie on the California, Oregon, and Santa Fe trails. The ...

Hanging from the streetlamps of this pristine Midwest town are blue banners with a silhouette of Independence’s most famous hometown boy: Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States. The banners depict Truman as an elder statesman with his topcoat, hat and cane. Truman grew up here, and as he told reporters when leaving the White House, “Independence is where I belong.” Independence, located on the Missouri River thirty minutes outside of Kansas City, was the last civilization that settlers heading west in Conestoga wagons in the 1800s would see before crossing the prairie on the California, Oregon, and Santa Fe trails. The National Frontier Trails Museum offers exhibits on the westward expansion that began in 1800 and continued to 1875. The National Park Service offers tours of the Truman house, now the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, filled with Harry and Bess’s original furnishings. A short distance away is his presidential library holding all his White House records. Other noteworthy places to visit include the courthouse where Truman presided over land grant hearings when he was county commissioner in 1933; across from it is the jail house built in 1859. Historic house tours are offered at the Vaile Mansion, a French second empire style house built in 1881 and the Bingham-Waggoner house, an Italianate mansion from 1852. In 1831 prophet Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons-Latter Day Saints, led his followers to their Zion, Independence Missouri. Interactive displays at the Mormon Visitors Center tell of their 900-mile journey to Independence. For something completely different, visit Leila's Hair Museum with its beautiful collection of wreaths and jewelry made from human hair.

Frances Folsom
About the Expert

Frances Folsom is the author of CitySpot Palermo, a contributor to the Reiskits guides to Milan and Italy's Lakes Region, and Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

view full overview

Frances Folsom for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May-December