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Visual Evidence

Drawing 1: Harry Truman's Independence. [Drawing 1] with link to larger version of photo.
(National Park Service)

Before and after returning to Independence in 1953, one of Harry Truman's favorite activities was his early morning walk. These walks helped him to remember his life in Independence and to connect to his town. Truman explained:

I've been taking my walks around the city and passing places that bring back wonderful recollections.... I pass by Noland School where I first went to school in 1892. Just south of this building stood the old Columbian School, which was brand-new when I was ready for the third and fourth grade. The Ott School over on Liberty and College where I was in the fifth grade under Aunt Nanny Wallace--Bess's aunt. I pass the site of the old Independence High School [now Palmer Junior High on this site] at Maple and Pleasant. Ours [Bess and Harry's] was the first class to be graduated there, in 1901, fifty-two years ago. And so it goes. What a pleasure to be back here at home--once more a free and independent citizen of the gateway city of the old Great West.¹

Drawing 1 Key:
The Truman Home - The house at 219 Delaware Street was the home to Harry S Truman and his wife, Bess Wallace Truman, from the time of their marriage in 1919 until their deaths in the 1972 and 1982, respectively. The house was built in 1885 by Bess Wallace's grandparents.
The First Presbyterian Church - In 1890, six-year-old Harry Truman met Bess Wallace in Sunday school class at this church.
Independence High School - Harry Truman and Bess Wallace graduated from this school in 1901.
Trinity Episcopal Church - Harry S Truman married Bess Wallace at Trinity Episcopal on June 28, 1919. The church was also the site of the 1956 wedding of their daughter, Margaret.
Jackson County Courthouse - Harry S Truman presided as administrative judge for Jackson County from an office and courtroom in this courthouse from 1926-1934.
Harry S Truman Library - Completed in 1957, the Truman Presidential Library houses papers and museum exhibits about Truman's life and presidency. He maintained an office at the library until his death in 1972. Harry S Truman and Bess Wallace Truman are buried in the courtyard of the library.
Harry S Truman National Historic Landmark District - Established to recognize the important relationship between Truman and his neighborhood.

Questions for Drawing 1

1. Locate some of the important sites of Harry Truman's life: Trinity Episcopal Church, the Truman Home, First Presbyterian Church, Independence High School, Jackson County Courthouse, and Harry S Truman Library. Arrange a list of the sites as they might appear in a chronology or timeline of Harry Truman's life.

2. Estimate the distance Harry Truman would have walked to and from his office at the Truman Library. Do you think Truman's daily walks helped to contribute to his physical and mental fitness during his retirement? Why?

3. Trace the outline of the Harry S Truman National Historic Landmark District. Why was it established? What are some of the places it recognizes?

¹ Robert H. Ferrell, ed. The Autobiography of Harry S Truman (Boulder, Co.: Colorado Associated University Press, 1980), 109-111.

* The image on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Drawing 1, but be aware that the file will take as much as 20 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.

 

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