On Saturday, September 7, years of work will culminate with the re-opening of the Historic Truman Courthouse in downtown Independence. Jackson County officials will celebrate this occasion with a formal rededication ceremony on the courthouse steps. The bell in the courthouse’s clock tower will ring at approximately 2:00 p.m. to begin the ceremony, which will be followed by Kansas City music great Ida McBeth singing the National Anthem.
Following the rededication ceremony, the doors of the historic courthouse will once again be open to the public. Tours of the Truman Courthouse will be available throughout the rest of the day.
"By re-opening this building, we are bringing the history of Jackson County and part of President Truman’s legacy back to life," said Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. "Our citizens, as well as visitors from around the country, will once again be able to see where Truman’s remarkable career of public service began."
President Truman's path to the White House started in this very courthouse, where he served as the Presiding Judge of Jackson County. True to his own words that "an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties," he guided the county through an era of expansion during the challenging early days of the Great Depression. He oversaw the construction of a brand new county courthouse in Kansas City in 1933, yet remained committed to preserving the past and during that same year also remodeled the old courthouse on Independence Square.
Now exactly 80 years later, the multi-phased restoration of the Truman Courthouse is nearly complete. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, the building has undergone significant renovation work over the past four years. In 2009, emergency renovations were completed to the exterior of the building, which included the removal of a retaining wall that was trapping water and causing damage to the building’s foundation.
Over the past year, the renovation work has moved to the interior. Additional work has taken place on the iconic clock tower. When finalized, the courthouse will be returned to the integrity of its original 1933 design.
Visitors to the re-opened courthouse will be able to see a newly added art museum on the second floor along with the historic Truman and Brady courtrooms. An elevator has been installed to allow easier public access throughout the courthouse. In addition to being a focal point for tourists, the Truman Courthouse will once again be a working courthouse. Various county departments will have offices in the courthouse, including Assessment, Collection and the Recorder of Deeds. The headquarters for the Independence Department of Tourism and Jackson County Historical Society will also be housed in the courthouse.
Local Union 124, IBED
The Missouri Society of the
Sons of the American Revolution
John Bardgett, Jr. / Danny Pfeifer
Rosana Privitera Biondo
Stephen R. Bough