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Historic Landmarks Walking Tour

Walking Tour Map (pdf)

  1. Truman Heritage District Home and Neighborhood

    This area is Independence's only local 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 district's cultural landscape of Truman's hometown neighborhood.


  2. Owens-McCoy House 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. 


  3. Twyman/McGuire/Harper House 803 West Waldo

    Built c.1915, this is an excellent example of American Foursquare architecture, 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 c.1940. He was minister of the First Christian Church during the depression. The home was locally designated in 1998. 


  4. Bullene Choplin House 702 North Delaware

    Constructed c.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 c.1969-1971. There are 11 stained glass windows in the home, nine of which are displayed in the original living room. The home was locally designated in 1998 and is part of the Truman Heritage District and the Harry S Truman National Historic Landmark District.  

  5. Bryant House 519 South Main

    Constructed ca. 1867 for Dr. John S., Jr. and Harriet Smart Bryant, this home was originally built as a four room dwelling. By c.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 owner, continues to restore it as a single-family home. Listed on the National Register in 1992 and locally designated in 1998.


  6. Hughes Childers House 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 c.1887 and designed by local architectural firm Gibbs and Parker. The home was built for Mollie and Josie Hughes. Listed on the National Register in 1994, it was added to the Local Register in 1999.


  7. Pitcher Hinde Johnson House 627 S. Liberty

    This two-story antebellum home was constructed c. 1855 by Thomas Pitcher. 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 rehabilitated. Locally designated in 1999.


  8. Porter Chiles House 522 West Maple

    Originally constructed c.1860, this home was remodeled c.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 helped to restored its historic appearance. Locally designated in 1999.


  9. Noel House 409 North Pleasant

    This Queen Anne home was built c.1890 by W. T. Hearne and 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 covenants to insure its protection. The home was locally designated in 1999.


  10. Prewitt Wright House 611 Maple

    This American Foursquare home was constructed c.1912. It was the home of former Independence Mayor 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 executive of the Boy Scouts of America. The home was locally designated as historic in 1999.


  11. Lobb Cemetery 2515 Lobb Cemetery Road

    This is one of the oldest cemeteries in continuous use in Jackson County. The first recorded burial occurred c.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 sides is believed to have been constructed by enslaved peoples c.1844. The cemetery now covers approximately five acres and is maintained by the Lobb Cemetery Association. The property was locally designated in 2001 for its association with the settlement of the Lobb Community in eastern Jackson County during the period of westward migration and through the Civil War.


  12. Vaile Mansion 1500 North Liberty

    Completed in 1881 for Colonel Harvey Merrick Vaile and his wife, Sophia. The Vaile Mansion was designed by Kansas City architect Asa Cross in the Second Empire and French Renaissance revival styles. It is considered one of the best examples of this type of architecture in the state of Missouri. Mr. Vaile made his fortune dealing in real estate and contract mail delivery for the U.S. government. The Vaile Mansion 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 National Register of Historic Places in 1969 and locally designated in 2002.


  13. Bingham-Waggoner Estate 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 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 and locally designated in 2002.


  14. Missouri Pacific/Truman Train Depot 1111 W. Pacific

    Constructed c.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 in the 1990s and is currently an active Amtrak station. The property was listed on the National Register in 1979 and designated on the Local Register of Historic Places in 2002.


  15. 1827 Log Courthouse 107 West Kansas

    This was the first county courthouse 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 Independence 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.


  16. Woodlawn Cemetery 701 South Noland

    Three cemeteries combined to form the Independence City Cemetery, renamed Woodlawn in 1922. These cemeteries include the Stayton Family Cemetery (1826), 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 as one of the oldest cemeteries in continuous use in the county. Woodlawn is also significant as it houses such valuable architecture including mausoleums, monuments, statuary, markers and cemetery art. Locally designated in 2002.


  17. Pioneer Spring Cabin  318 West Pacific

    Constructed c.1870, this hand-hewn log 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 201 N. Dodgion in front of the Sermon Center in 1972 to save it from planned demolition. The cabin was restored and relocated once again in 2019 and currently lies adjacent to the National Frontier Trails Museum. Locally designated in 2002.


  18. Chicago & Alton Depot 318 West Pacific

    This train 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 of Missouri. Threatened by demolition, the depot was moved to this site in 1996 and restored by the City and the Friends of the Chicago & Alton. Locally designated historic in 2002. 


  19. Fire House #1 223 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. It currently serves as the visitor's center and ticket office for the Harry S Truman National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service. 


  20. Truman Memorial Building 41 6 West Maple

    This building was constructed c.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 architecturally significant as one of the City's only examples of an institutional building constructed in 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. The building is part of the Truman National Historic Landmark District and was locally designated in in 2002.


  21. Kirby-Kille House 9867 East Winner Road

    This house is an excellent example of the Craftsman Bungalow style. It was built c.1900 by Rupert O. and Rufus Kerby. Among the interesting features of this house are the fascinating play of the small gables within the large gable roofline. Locally designated in 2003.


  22. Ginger Rogers Birthplace 100 West Moore

    This is the acknowledged birthplace of Virginia Katherine McMath, who is best known as Academy Award wining actress and dancer Ginger Rogers. Rogers was born on July 16, 1911. The house is a working class, single-story frame cottage built in 1906. The property was designated on the Local Register of Historic Places in 2003. 

  23. Woodson/Sawyer House 1604 W. Lexington

    The Woodson/Sawyer home, also known as Araby West, was built c. 1858 with several additions built between c.1865 - 1968. It is a classic example of the high-style, Italianate building. The house is associated with Samuel W. Woodson, who was a prominent lawyer, judge, and political figure in Independence. His daughter, Sallie, married Aaron Flint Sawyer who continued to live in the house after her father passed away. 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 the sensitive introduction of contemporary additions to the historic fabric of the building. The house was listed on the National Register in 1986 and was locally designated in 2003.