Independence has a rich and adventurous history. Formerly Osage Indian land, it was the second settlement in Jackson County and was chosen as the county seat in 1827. Known as the Queen City of Trails, Independence was the jumping-off point for travelers beginning their long journey on the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails. After the Civil War, the Courthouse Square area became a major focus for the development of businesses and churches. Residents enjoyed gathering to “wind the clock,” walk, or drive around the square.
In 1945, Independence’s most famous son, Harry S. Truman, became President of the United States. While residing in Washington, D.C., his home at 216 North Delaware served as his “Summer White House.” Truman’s presidential library was dedicated in Independence in the late 1950s and is a favorite site for hundreds of thousands of visitors and researchers each year.