Harry S. Truman National Historic Site

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Harry S. Truman National Historic Site
The Harry S. Truman National Historic Site preserves both the family farm and the longtime home of Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), 33rd President of the United States. The Wallace House (Truman Home) is in Independence, Missouri, and the Truman Farm Home in Grandview, Missouri: both are within the Kansas City, Missouri, metropolitan area and are approximately 15 miles apart.

Wallace House (Truman Home) in Independence
Wallace House (also called the Truman Home), 219 North Delaware Street, Independence, Missouri, would be the home of Harry S Truman, after his marriage to Bess Wallace, on 28 June 1919 until his death on 26 December 1972. Bess Truman's maternal grandfather, George Porterfield Gates, built the house over a period of years from 1867 to 1895. Bess's mother, Madge Gates Wallace, wanted the couple to live there with her. Bess had lived with her mother after Bess's father, David Willock Wallace, committed suicide in 1903. Bess and her mother initially moved into the house with Bess's grandparents, George and Elizabeth Gates. Also in 1919, Harry was putting all of his money into the men's clothing store of Truman & Jacobson open at 104 West 12 th St. in downtown Kansas City, so living at the Wallace home made good financial sense. After the haberdashery failed, in 1922, Harry and Bess could not afford to move to a new home. So they would continue living there while Harry paid off the debts from the store. That same year he went into politics, and would eventually move to Washington, D.C. Whenever they came back to Missouri, the Wallace House was their home. The Trumans' only child Mary Margaret was born in the home on February 17, 1924. The site also includes the two adjacent homes of Mrs. Truman's brothers, and, across Delaware Street, the home of the President's favorite aunt and cousins. Guided tours of the site are conducted, and a visitor's center is housed in a nearby historic firehouse. After he retired in 1953, until the Truman Library was opened on 6 July 1957, the Wallace House was also his office. Truman is probably one of the few Presidents who never owned his own home prior to his time in office. He would live with family members in his early life, then the Wallace House, rented apartments and houses in Washington (including 4701 Connecticut Avenue), Blair House (the official state visitors residence), and the White House, but it was not until July 1953, following his term of office and the December 1952 death of Madge Gates Wallace, that Harry and Bess Truman purchased the home at 219 North Delaware Street. The house is now located in the Harry S. Truman Historic District, a National Historic Landmark site.

Truman Farm Home at Grandview
The Truman Farm Home is located 15 miles (24 km) away from Independence in Grandview, Missouri. The farmhouse at 12301 Blue Ridge Blvd was built in 1894 by Harry Truman's maternal grandmother, and is the centerpiece of a 5.25 acre (21,200 m²) remnant of the family's former 600 acre (2.4 km²) farm. Truman worked the farm as a young man, from 1906-1917. It was here, said his mother, that Harry got his "common sense." Guided tours are conducted during the summer, but there is no visitor center on the site. The house is a National Historic Landmark. The site consists of a farm house (the original burned to the ground in 1893); a reconstructed smokehouse; the Grandview post office-turned-garage (Truman moved it to the farm to store his 1911 Stafford automobile); a restored box wagon once used on the farm; and several stone fence posts marking the original boundaries of the farm, plus other original and reconstructed buildings. After Truman returned to private life he sold portions of the farm for the Truman Corners Shopping Center as well as other Kansas City suburban development.


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