Independence, Missouri, (population 113,288), was established in 1827 and by the 1840s was a thriving trading post. Its rich history includes ties to the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails, the Civil War, the Mormon Church, and to President Harry S Truman. The City is home to the National Frontier Trails Museum, which incorporates the surviving portion of the Waggoner-Gates Mill, an important local resource. It tells the story of the exploration, acquisition, and settlement of the American West. Independence is also home to a historic Courthouse Square, the Harry S Truman Home and Library, and other noteworthy estates and historic homes open to visitors. Schoolchildren take heritage tours of the 1827 Log Courthouse and 1859 Jail to supplement their classroom studies.
The City encourages preservation efforts through development incentives, designation of local landmarks, and restoration and adaptive reuse of its heritage resources. One example is the 1926 Truman Memorial Building, a tribute to those who lost their lives during World War I. A major rehabilitation completed in 2004 was accomplished by public and private efforts including a Save America’s Treasures grant, sales tax revenue, and the efforts of many organizations, businesses and individuals. Today the deteriorated building is once again an active community and arts center on Independence Square.
Designated a Preserve America Community in March 2006.