Lamar, MO

Places linked to President Harry S. Truman include birthplace, farm home, Independence home, state park, and reservoir

CJ Coombs
Pres. Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site in Lamar, Missouri.Kbh3rd, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Truman's birthplace is a state historic site

It’s been years and years since I toured the birthplace and childhood home of Harry S. Truman in Lamar, Missouri. The property is state-owned and maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The house is one and a half stories tall. On May 8, 1884, the future 33rd President of the United States was born in a downstairs bedroom of this house. His father, John Truman, was a farmer and livestock trader. Truman only lived in the home until he was 10 months old. His family lived on a farm in Harrisonville and Belton prior to moving to the farm home in Grandview.

In 1957, the state purchased the home. In 1959, the site was dedicated as a historic site in a special ceremony that was also attended by Truman himself. In 1969, the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Truman farm home (part of Harry S. Truman National Historic Site).National Parks, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

Truman Farm Home

The Harry S. Truman Farm Home is located in Grandview, Missouri. This home is also a National Historic Landmark. The farm home was built by Truman's maternal grandmother and is located at 12301 Blue Ridge Blvd. The home is on 5.25 acres and is the remains of a 600-acre family farm. From 1906 to 1917, Truman worked on the farm when he was young.
Harry S. Truman at age 13.Hare Studios of Independence, Missouri, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
The farmhouse, with no plumbing or electricity, stood in stark contrast to the bright lights of Kansas City. On the farm, Harry had little privacy, sharing the seven-room house with his grandmother, parents, sister and brother. (Source.)

While there isn't a visitor center at this site, there are self-guided tours including an audio tour that's available. After nearly a decade, tours resumed in May 2022. They are offered on Fridays and Saturdays and limited to six people. It's also first come, first served. Tickets for scheduled tours are obtainable from the Ranger or volunteer. There is no photography allowed inside the home.

Portions of the farm were sold by Truman once he returned to private life and were used for the building of the Truman Corners Shopping Center and other developments in the suburb.

The Truman home in Independence is part of a National Historic Site

Several properties associated with Harry S. Truman are operated by the National Park Service. The highlighted properties are the Truman Home pictured below located in Independence, Missouri as well as the Truman Farm Home in Grandview, Missouri. The designation of a historic site occurred in May 1983. The house is located in the Harry S. Truman Historic District.

The Harry S Truman Historic District National Historic Landmark consists of several buildings. Click here for images.
Harry S. Truman National Historic Site in Independence, Missouri.Nationalparks at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Truman Home is located at 219 North Delaware Street in Independence. Harry and Bess lived in this home since their marriage up until President Truman's death (June 28, 1919 to December 26, 1972). The house was built by George Porterfield Gates between 1867 and 1885. Gates was Bess Truman's maternal grandfather.

Bess came to live in the house with her grandparents along with her mother and brothers after her father, David Willock Wallace, committed suicide in 1903.
Harry and Bess Truman on their wedding day on June 28, 1919.Uncredited photographer, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

When the Trumans married in 1919, Harry invested in a business partnership related to a men's clothing store known as Truman & Jacobson that was downtown Kansas City. However, after the haberdashery failed, they continued living in the house to save money. Truman moved to Washington D.C. with his wife and daughter in 1935 after he was elected to the Senate. They always returned to their home in Missouri when they came back to the state.

The Truman Home displays the simplicity of the Trumans' lives. They had one child, Mary Margaret Truman, and she was born in the home on February 17, 1924.

The historic site also includes the homes of Bess Truman's brothers and the home of President Truman's aunt and cousins. The Truman Home Visitor Center isn't far from the home. It's located at 223 N Main St. in Independence.
The second-floor bedroom of Harry and Bess Truman.Jack E. Boucher, Historic American Buildings Survey, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The second floor is not open to the public. At the request of Bess Truman, she wanted the second floor to remain closed until her daughter passed away. In 2008, when Margaret died, the National Park Service continued to keep the floor closed to preserve its fragile nature. Click here for a virtual tour of the home.

The Truman Library was opened in July 1957 after Truman's retirement in 1953. The Truman Home in Independence also served as his office. Bess continued to live in the Independence home until she died in 1982. She left the property to the National Park Service. An eight-month renovation that cost $1.1 million was put into the home to improve its safety and stability for visitors.

Harry S. Truman State Park

The 1,440 acres of the Harry S. Truman State Park isn't far from Warsaw, Missouri. It's also located on a peninsula on Truman Lake. The park offers a variety of outdoor activities.

More than 60% of the acreage in the state park system has been donated to the state. (Source.)
Bluff Ridge Overlook at Truman State Park.Semipaw, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Harry S. Truman Reservoir

Truman Lake (aka Harry S. Truman Reservoir) is located between Clinton and Warsaw, Missouri, and south towards Osceola. The reservoir flows into parts of the counties of Henry and St. Clair, and the dam is in Benton County.

The lake and dam were built and are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Other than being used for flood control, it also generates power.

In 1954, it was named the Kaysinger Bluff Dam and Reservoir. Before the dam was constructed, the bluff used to be a landmark that overlooked the confluence of the Tebo Creek and South Grand and Osage Rivers. There is a visitor center located on the bluff.

In 1964 when construction started, the dam was renamed Harry S. Truman Dam and Reservoir in his honor.

A lot of time and work went into completing the planning of this project. Old bridges were taken down and new ones were built. This even involved some relocation of cemeteries and roads.

The main line of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad was relocated between La Due and Clinton.
Harry S. Truman Dam on the Osage River, Missouri.U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, not specified or unkn., public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Harry S. Truman Visitor Center

The visitor center includes cultural and natural history exhibits related to Truman Lake. It also includes a theater show associated with wildlife and history. There's an observation deck where you can see views of Truman Lake, parts of the Lake of the Ozarks, and the dam. Click here for more information regarding the visitor center.

Click here for information related to touring the Farm Home in Grandview or the Truman Home in Independence.

Thanks for reading!

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms, and I retired early so I could be a writer all day. You could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri because I was born into the Air Force life. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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