If this presidential election has you confounded by candidates and dumbfounded by debates, make the logical choice by picking Harry Truman in 2016.
Okay. You’re right. Truman isn’t going to appear on official ballots anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show him your support by visiting his home state in 2016.
Truman, the only Missourian ever elected to the nation’s highest office, is widely considered one the greatest presidents in American history, often ranked alongside the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Around Missouri, several museums, historic homes and other sites are dedicated to Truman’s legacy, with Independence serving as the epicenter of all things Truman.
The next time you’re in the Show-Me State on a whistle-stop campaign – or, more likely, a getaway – make sure to add these Truman-related sites to your agenda.
The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is a history lover’s dream come true. Truman’s papers, personal artifacts and a replica oval office are part of the experience.
Through the end of the year, the Truman Library is hosting the “A More Perfect Union: How Critical Presidential Elections Reshaped the Constitution” exhibit. Held to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights and the fact that 2016 is an election year, the exhibition includes original materials from the Truman Library and the National Archives. Video highlights from the first televised presidential debate and campaign commercial clips are part of the exhibits.
Grammarians who visit will enjoy the debate as to whether or not Truman’s middle initial should have a period (the museum’s Research Room has more info on this one).
The Truman Library and Museum is located at 500 W. U.S. Highway 24 in Independence. Visit TrumanLibrary.org for hours of operation and admission fees.
At the Truman Home in Independence, a National Historic Site, you get an inside look at Truman’s life. This home was Truman’s primary residence from 1919 until he died in 1972, covering the years before, during and after his service as president. Truman loved Independence, where he was noted for taking brisk walks (he never utilized a Secret Service detail) and shaking hands with folks who lined up outside his home in hopes of seeing the former president.
Stop at the site’s Visitor Center, 223 N. Main, to obtain your tickets for the home tour – the home is at 219 N. Delaware St., about five blocks west of the Visitor Center. At the Visitor Center, you’ll also find information about the Harry S. Truman Walking Trail, a nearly three-mile jaunt around the city. More than 40 informational plaques offer details about Truman and the city he loved.
The Truman Home, Visitor Center and Walking Trail are among several sites in the Harry S Truman National Historic Landmark District. Other points of interest include Truman’s boyhood home, the Bess Wallace Home and the circa 1836 Truman Courthouse, where the future leader of the free world served as the presiding judge of Jackson County.
About two hours south of Independence, you can see where, literally, it all began for Truman at the Harry S Truman Birthplace State Historic Site. Truman was born in Lamar on May 8, 1884, in this modes home, nestled in the heart of the city.
Truman and his family lived in the six-room home until the future president was almost 1. The home features period décor; tours are free. Take note of the Austrian pine tree at the southeast corner of the house. John Anderson Truman planted it on the day his first child, Harry, was born. The home is located at 1009 Truman Road.
Outdoor enthusiasts also have a great opportunity to connect with Harry Truman, and perhaps reel in a lunker, when they visit the Harry S. Truman Reservoir, better known as Truman Lake. Covering more than 55,000 acres, Truman Lake’s clear waters make it a great destination for anglers seeking crappie and bass.
A peninsula that juts into the lake contains the Harry S Truman State Park, a popular destination for hiking, swimming and camping.
The Visitor Center at Truman Dam has information about the lake and the region, and from its perch atop Kaysinger Bluff, provides awesome views of the dam and lake. A nature trail and a walking trail are accessible from the Visitor Center, which is located at the east end of Truman Dam, about two miles north of Warsaw.
Oh, and if you’re looking to stay in Truman-inspired locales, try the Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs – he stayed there on the eve of his first presidential election – and the MuehlebachTower (part of the Marriott Kansas City Downtown), a favorite haunt.
These are some of the places to explore when you visit Missouri with a Truman-focused itinerary. Learn more about these sites, and other attractions with ties to Truman, at VisitMO.com.