Truman Memorial Building History
Built 1926 - Rededicated 2002
In 1926, the Truman Memorial building was erected as a tribute to those who had lost their lives in World War I. Without the support and promotion by WWI veteran and former captain of Battery D, Harry S. Truman, the idea of a memorial may have never been realized. Truman led the campaign to have the monument built.
Dedication ceremonies for this Neo-Georgian styled monument were held on July 4, 1926. When the first visitors walked into the memorial, they were greeted by bronze profiles of President Wilson and General Pershing. The foyer took on the form of a museum, displaying WWI artifacts and housing tables displaying the names of fallen soldiers. A discerning visitor would notice that the floor plan resembled a Greek cross.
Over the years, the commemorative building housed offices and meeting rooms for such groups as the local Chamber of Commerce, American War Mothers, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the American Legion. On June 27, 1945, President Truman held a presidential news conference on the basketball court of the Memorial Building. The reason for this press conference was to announce the resignation of Edward R. Slettinius as Secretary of State and his appointment as United States Representative to the United Nations.
After 71 years of serving the community, the Truman Memorial building was in dire need of a facelift. So, in 1997, Mayor Ron Stewart set up a task force to look into renovating the Truman Memorial building. After gaining local taxpayer support and receiving both state and federal money, the renovations were underway. Once the renovations were complete, the Truman Memorial building was proudly showing its original glory.
The Truman Memorial building has continued to serve the residents of Independence as a center of recreation and a reminder of those Americans who gave their lives for our country.