Today we took a tour of the Truman Home in Independence. The tickets are $4, and are purchased at the Visitors' Center five blocks away, although ours were free due to Larry's 'old age' national pass. Hey, sometimes this age thing gives us a break, lol!
We watched the 15-minute film at the Visitors' Center before driving the few blocks to the home to take the tour. Normally the ranger takes eight people at a time into the home, but today we were a group of four. There were eight in the group ahead of us and a group of eight waiting when we came out of the house for their tour. So I guess we were lucky to have just the four of us. We got to check things out & ask plenty of questions. The ranger was very informative and seemed to have a passion for his job. He seemed to have a true admiration & respect for the Truman's. He told us many stories about the Truman family, the Secret Service, the house and also about the people who visited.
We started the tour by going around the back and entering the home through the screened-in porch where Harry and Bess spent a considerable amount of time. We could look out the porch window and see Harry's green 1972 Chrysler Newport, the last car he ever owned, parked in the garage. Next, we entered the old-fashioned kitchen, left exactly as it was when Bess died in 1982. The next stop was the dining room, which is currently undergoing wallpaper restoration. We went on to see Bess and Harry's small sitting/reading room and then the large living room where they entertained dignitaries. Nixon had the longest visit, at 29 minutes. Johnson stayed only 12 minutes, according to our National Park Service guide. We also saw Harry's overcoat and cane, hanging from a hook, exactly as he left it shortly before his death in December 1972. Visitors are not allowed upstairs, where there are five bedrooms and a bathroom. And, pictures are not allowed to protect the privacy of the family and for safety reasons, I assume.
One of the more interesting elements of the Truman Home in Independence is that while it is preserved as the home of Harry S Truman, it was not, initially, his house at all. In fact, though he lived there for much of his life, he did not own the home until quite late in life. In the modern age where more than 60% of Americans own their own homes, Mr. Truman did not have the money to buy a house until long after he had left office.
The Truman home is also called the Wallace House, because it came into the family from his wife's (nee Wallace) side of the family. Truman and his wife lived in the house after they were married, with his mother -in-law. After he left office, the Wallace house served as the post-presidential office until the Truman Library was finished.
The multi-story Victorian home was special to the Truman's, however, as it was where their only daughter was born in 1924. Even after his wife's mother passed away they chose to stay in it and lived there until the end of their lives.
Harry S Truman (1884-1972) spent 64 years of his life in Independence, Missouri. The qualities instilled in him as a child and young adult guided him personally as well as in his career as a farmer, judge, senator, and eventually President of the United States (1945-53). After leaving public office in 1953, he returned to his hometown to live among the family and neighbors who had always supported him.
We left today with an interest in learning more about this fascinating man. We got it across town at the Truman Presidential Library and Museum. But I'll leave that for another post. It was wonderful & deserves it's own...
P. S. Even though we were not allowed pics, I 'borrowed' a couple from another site. Don't know how they got them!