September 7, 2013

New Flag Dedicated

Ribbon Cutting

Crucial Renovations Completed!
Vital renovations to prevent irreparable harm to landmark completed on time and on budget.
"Wall-Breaking" Ceremony
Ceremony marks the beginning of renovations essential to the courthouse's preservation.
Phase II Of Vital Renovations Begin
A Public Emergency County Executive's declaration that the state of the Jackson County Truman Courthouse represents a "public emergency" frees up funding for renovation work to proceed.
Saving A Landmark
Learn more about all phases of the renovation effort to save the Jackson County Truman Courthouse.

Historic Site
Learn more about the history of the Jackson County Truman Courthouse.


      Saving The historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse
Updated December 3, 2013

September 7, 2013
Rededication Ceremony

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders speaks at the September 7, 2013 rededication ceremony of the Historic Truman Courthouse.


At 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, 2013, the iconic clock atop the Historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse chimed for the first time in a generation as hundreds of citizens converged on Independence Square to join County Executive Mike Sanders, United States Senator Roy Blunt, former Congressman Ike Skelton and Independence Mayor Don Reimal for the building's grand reopening. That hour was chosen purposely, for it marked the exact hour in which Harry Truman rededicated the same courthouse September 7, 1933 following the extensive renovations he supervised that year as the county's Presiding Judge.

The restored 2013 Truman Courthouse has something the building previously never had before—an elevator allowing full access to every floor. The national landmark is also once again a "working courthouse," housing offices for Jackson County’s Assessment, Collections and Recorder of Deeds Departments, as well as the  Independence Tourism Department and Jackson County Historical Society. The courthouse's second floor now showcases the new Jackson County Museum of Art, featuring more than two dozen paintings by renowned 19th Century artist George Caleb Bingham.

Harry Truman's original office and courtroom, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of Jackson County in the late 1920s and early '30s, has been historically preserved — as has the Brady Courtroom. Dating back to the original construction in 1836, the Brady Courtroom represents the oldest part of the building. Judge Joseph J. Brady presided over the courtroom as Jackson County 6th District Magistrate Court Judge from 1947 to 1972.

Listed on the National Register of Historic places since 1972, the courthouse also now features the City of Independence Visitor Experience Center and the Jackson County Historical Society Local History Center and Bookshop.

The surrounding grounds feature statues of United States Presidents Harry S. Truman and Andrew Jackson. Other markers commemorate pioneers, the Civil War, and the migration west. The Santa Fe, California and Oregon Trails marked Independence Square as their starting point.


September 7, 2013 marked the end of what Sanders called a "four-year odyssey" to fully restore the Truman Courthouse. He declared a public emergency in early 2009 after engineers warned the building's "structural integrity" was nearing a point of being beyond repair. That declaration freed up funds to repair the building's foundation, remove a retaining wall and restore the courthouse grounds to their 1933 appearance.

"We were told in 2009 that this courthouse and its rich heritage could be lost to all of us and future generations forever," recalled Sanders during the September 7, 2013 rededication ceremony. "Those [2009] repairs and enhancements, we said at the time, were just the first step in our commitment to restoring the Truman Courthouse to its original glory. The goal wasn’t just to return the building to its original design, but to open it back up to the citizens of Jackson County so that it could serve its original purpose.

"The finished product meets that stated goal by once again making this a working courthouse."

In 1933 Truman took intense personal interest in the expansion and redesign of the historic courthouse on the square in Independence, Missouri — such intense interest that the building became known as "Truman's Courthouse." 

That same year a new courthouse was built in downtown Kansas City.


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