Historic Landmarks Walking Tour
Walking Tour Map in pdf Format
Home and Neighborhood
This area is Independence's only Historic District, designated by the City in 1974, two years after the National Park Service established the Harry S Truman National Historic Landmark District. The district includes 121 residences and five institutional buildings. It was established to preserve the districts cultural landscape of Truman's hometown neighborhood.
138 East Farmer
Built ca. 1938 the Palestine Church is the second oldest African American church structure in Independence. It is maintained by an active congregation and is one of the few buildings still associated with Independence's historic African Americancommunity. The church is situated on the historic Young School property, which housed the first African American school building in Independence. Designated locally in 1998.
410 West Farmer
Home of Samuel Owens from 1840-1851 and William McCoy from 1851-1900. Both had significant associations with Santa Fe Trail trade. Owens is distinguished for his heroism in the Battle of Sacramento. William McCoy was a partner in Waldo, Hall and Company, an early freighting company. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Santa Fe National Historic Trail Site. Architecturally, the house is an excellent example of the Side Hall Plan with characteristics of the Greek Revival and Italianate styles. Mr. and Mrs. Brian Snyder currently own the home and have continued in the ongoing process of restoring and preserving the home.
803 West Waldo
Built ca. 1915, this is an excellent example of American Four Square construction, as influenced by the Prairie style. The property was the home of Dr. Elmer Twyman, who was considered to be a pioneer of cancer surgery. From 1922-1939, the home was owned by Benjamin McGuire, the Presiding Bishop of the Community of Christ church from 1916-1925. Rev. Lyndon W. Harper bought the home ca. 1940. He was minister of the First Christian Church during the depression. The home is currently being restored by owners Lee Williams and Brent Schondelmeyer. Designated locally in 1998.
702 North Delaware
Constructed ca. 1887 by Thomas Chapman Bullene this is a premier example of the Queen Anne style in Independence. Thomas Chapman Bullene was an Independence dry goods merchant and an early partner in the Kansas City department store Bullene, Moore, and Emery. In 1919 the house was purchased by Robert R. Choplin. His daughter Josephine has been credited with having restored the home between ca. 1969-1971. There are 11 stained glass windows in the home, nine of which are displayed in the original living room. Designated locally in 1998 by the current owners Dave and JeNell Yoka.
519 South Main
Constructed ca. 1867 for Dr. John S., Jr. and Harriet Smart Bryant, this home was originally built as a four room structure. By ca. 1892 it was expanded to its present 21 room Queen Anne-Eastlake design. The Bryant House was converted to an 11-unit apartment building in the 1950''s. Its current owners Mr. and Mrs. Gary Barr are restoring it to use as a single family home. Listed on the National Register in 1992 and locally designed in 1998.
801 South Main
The Hughes Childers House is a superb example of the Queen Anne architecture that earned Independence the title of "Royal Suburb" of Kansas City in the late 19th century. The home was constructed ca. 1887 and was designed by local architectural firm Gibbs and Parker. The home was built for Mollie and Josie Hughes and is currently owned by the family of Petey Childers, local businessman who purchased the home for restoration in 1966. Listed on the National Register in 1994, designated locally in 1999.
627 S. Liberty
This two-story antebellum home was constructed ca. 1855 by Thomas Pitcher. Col. Pitcher was a Jackson County pioneer who served as colonel for the local militia during the Mormon War. In 1880 the house was purchased by the family of James O. Hinde. Sr. W.H. Johnson, local educator and City Councilman, resided here between 1909 and 1921. The home is currently being restored by Mr. and Mrs. Jarrod Magruder. Designated in 1999.
522 West Maple
Originally constructed ca. 1860, this home was remodeled ca. 1883 and achieved architectural significance as a rare example of Second Empire architecture, with elements of the Italianate style, not commonly found in Independence. David J. Porter was the original owner; Cornelius "Neil" Carr Chiles was responsible for the 1883 remodeling. Mr. and Mrs. Jack Huff purchased the home in 1978 and have since restored its historic appearance and use as a single family home. Designated in 1999.
409 North Pleasant
This home is an example of Queen Anne architecture in Independence. It was built ca. 1890 by W. T. Hearne and was purchased by James C. and Margaret Noel (niece of Hearne) in 1908. James Noel served on the Independence City Council for 28 years. In 1999 the Noel family donated the house to Preservation Renaissance of Independence, a local non-profit preservation organization. PRI, in turn sold the property for rehabilitation as a single family home, attaching preservation covenant to insure its protection. Designated in 1999.
This home was constructed ca. 1912 as an American Foursquare influenced by the Prairie style of architecture. It was the home of former Mayor of Independence James Allen Prewitt, who served from 1906-1908. The property is also significant for its association with Edward C. Wright, Jr., Mayor Prewitt's son-in-law, who lived here from 1939-1972. Mr. Wright was a well known ex ecutive of the Boy Scouts of America. The home is currently owned by Mr. Eric Fowler. Designated locally in 1999.
2515 Lobb Cemetery Road
This is one of the oldest cemeteries in continuous use in Jackson County. The first recorded burial occurred ca. 1836 on land owned by Aquilla Lobb which was situated along a historic immigrant trail. The stacked-stone wall that lines the northeast and west side is believed to have been constructed by slaves ca. 1844. The cemetery now covers approximately five acres and is maintained by the Lobb Cemetery Association. Designated in 2001 based on significance for association with the settlement of the Lobb Community in eastern Jackson County during the period of westward migration, and up through the Civil War.
1500 North Liberty
Completed in 1881 for Colonel Harvey Merrick Vaile and his wife, Sophia. The Vaile was designed by Kansas City architect Asa Cross in the Second Empire and French Renaissance revival styles. It is a rare and significant part of Independence's architectural history. Mr. Vaile made his fortune dealing in real estate and contract mail delivery of the U.S. government. The Vaile was donated to the City of Independence by Mildred Dewitt in 1983 and is currently operated as a museum by the Vaile Victorian Society. Listed on the Nation Register of Historic Places in 1969 and designated locally in 2002.
313 West Pacific
The historical significance of the Bingham-Waggoner Estate is three-fold. Of prime importance is its early association with the Santa Fe Trail. In 1846 the improved property was purchased by Missouri genre artist and politician George Caleb Bingham. It is believed that Bingham painted his famous "Order No. 11" in a log cabin studio that once stood on the property. In 1879 the property was purchased by Peter and William H. Waggoner of the Waggoner Gates Milling Company. In 1899 William Waggoner remodeled the home to its present eclectic style. Most of the existing outbuildings were also constructed at this time. The Estate was purchased by the City in 1979 and is operated and maintained by the volunteers of the Bingham-Waggoner Historical Society. Listed on the National Register in 1979. Designated locally in 2002.
600 S. Grand
Constructed ca. 1912, the depot is significant as an example of model depot construction, and for its rich associations with President Truman. Truman, a frequent passenger on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, became famous for his 1948 "Whistle Stop" campaign against presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey. The campaign ended with its last stop in Independence, where Truman was welcomed home at the station by thousands of people. The depot building was purchased and restored by the City on the 1990s and now houses the Amtrak station and genealogy library. Listed on the National Register in 1979, designated locally in 2002.
107 West Kansas
This was the first county court house in Independence and was originally located at the southeast corner of Lexington and Lynn Streets. Daniel P. Lewis contracted to build the hewed-log structure for the sum of $150. The Courthouse remained in use until 1830 when a permanent brick structure was constructed on the Square. The Courthouse is also significant as an example of early historic preservation efforts in Independence. In 1916 a proposal to move the Courthouse stirred local sentiment and resulted in the relocation and eventual restoration of the Courthouse on its present site. Listed on the National Register in 1980 based on its architectural significance as a surviving example of log construction technology and for its association with the settlement and government/political history of Jackson County. Designated locally in 2002.
701 South Noland
Three cemeteries combined to form the Independence City Cemetery, renamed Woodlawn in 1922. These cemeteries include the Sta yton Fam ily Cemetery (1826), the St. Mary's Cemetery (1853), and land dedicated for the burial of Jackson County residents (1845). Owned and operated by the City of Independence since the 1920s, the cemetery land now totals approximately 47 acres. Woodlawn derives its significance from its association with many persons of transcendent importance in the history of Independence, and its great age as one of the oldest cemeteries in continuous use in the county. Woodlawn is also significant as a distinctive historic site that is create through the combination of individually valuable architectural architecture (mausoleums, monuments, statuary, markers and cemetery art). Designated locally in 2002.
201 North Dodgion
Constructed ca. 1870, this hewn lag cabin represents one of few surviving examples of 19th century log house construction in Independence. The building, which was originally located on Walnut Street just south of the Square, was moved to the Pioneer Spring Site in 1972 to save it from planned demolition. This site is significant to the community as an interpretive exhibit of frontier life in Independence. Designated locally in 2002.
318 West Pacific
This depot is significant as a surviving and intact example of the Chicago & Alton Railroad's distinctive depot architecture and design, standard to the company's stations at the time of its construction in 1879. It is also believed to be one of the only historic two-story frame depots in the state. Threatened by demolition, the depot was moved to this site in 1996 and restored by the City and the Friends of the Chicago & Alton.
223 North Main
Fire Station No. 1 was constructed in 1928 during the period of civic pride and moderation that shaped the development of Independence between 1918 and 1949. The building was designed by architect Hall Wheelock and represented the first Independence fire house specifically constructed and equipped to house automotive fire engines. The station was designated as a Landmark in 2002 based on architectural significance as a surviving, intact example of early 20th century fire house architecture in Independence.
41 6 West Maple
This building was constructed ca. 1925 as the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Building under the direction of architect Alonzo Gentry. Harry Truman served on the committee that drafted a $150,000 bond issue for the building's construction. He voted there for more than 30 years, including the 1940 Presidential election when he voted for himself. The Memorial Building is also significant architecturally as one of Independence's only examples of institutional building on the Neo-Georgian style. The Memorial Building was rehabilitated by the City in 2001-2002 for reuse as a civic center and veteran's memorial, its original intended purpose. Designated a Historic Landmark in 2002.
9867 East Winner Road
This house is an excellent example of the Craftsman Bungalow style. It was built ca. 1900 by Rupert O. and Rufus Kerby. It captures the essence of a style that is no longer in existence in today's architecture. Through the unique and imaginative characteristics, one can view Independence as it existed 100 years ago. Among the interesting features of this house are the fascinating play of the small gables within the large gable roofline. Designated locally in 2003 by the current owners Mark and Amy Kille.
100 West Moore
This is the acknowledged birthplace of Virginia Katherine McMath, who is best known as Ginger Rogers, on July 16, 1911. The house is a working class single story frame bungalow built ca. 1900. The property is owned by Mrs. Sylvia Brush who also nominated the property for local designation in 2003.
1604 W. Lexington
The Woodson/Sawyer home, also known as Araby West, was built ca. 1858 with several additions built between ca. 1865 - 1968. It is a classic example of the high style Italianate style building. The house is associated with Samuel W. Woodson, who was a prominent lawyer, judge, and political figure in Independence. After the Civil War Mr. Sawyer had to rebuild his life and this house was the center of that rebuilding. Sallie, the daughter of Woodson married Aaron Flint Sawyer and continued to live in the house. Sawyer was the son of Samuel L. Sawyer who was the business and law partner of William Chrisman. This home is also an excellent example of care and sensitivity regarding modern interpretations and additions to the historic fabric of the building. The house was listed on the National Register in 1986 and was locally designated in 2003 by the current owner Charlotte Olejko.