As you stand outside the Truman’s fence, this about what it would have been like to live in this house for so many years and see so many things change. In 1950, Harry Truman wrote to a friend, “The Independence I knew in 1890 long since disappeared in every particular; the Independence I knew in 1928 has also disappeared, and I suppose the one of the present day will be a thing of the past in another twenty years and that is as it should be.” He said, “It is remarkable indeed how time flies and makes you an old man whether you want to be or not.” The thing is, though, that there’s a lot of buildings in Independence, at least here in the older part of town, that haven’t changed.
In this historic district, which is officially called Harry S. Truman Historic District National Historic Landmark, and includes the area you just walked around plus the Delaware Street corridor between here and the Truman Library about a mile to the north, almost 85% of the buildings that were significant in Mr. Truman’s life are still standing and because of that, it’s possible for us today to get a much richer understanding of this man who served as our president.
In Harry Truman’s case at least, because he spent so much of his life here, it’s difficult to separate the man from his environment and pretty much impossible to really understand him without understanding something about Independence.
That’s why it’s worthwhile to preserve this historic district, because seeing what he saw and walking where he walked can give us insight into why he was the kind of president he was. And we need to know as much about our presidents as possible. Because the kind of people we choose for our leaders tells us a lot about ourselves.
Thanks for taking the Around the Corner from the Truman Home tour. If you’d like to tell us what you think, you can, but pushing *0. We’re interested in any comments you have. Be careful and goodbye.