Independence is a modern city marked by its presidential and pioneering past. This hometown of President Harry S. Truman, population 112,000, Independence served as an outfitting post for westward expansion in the 1800s. Visitors can still see the ruts left by covered wagons beginning their journeys along the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails.
Independence is dotted with historical venues relating to President Truman. The Harry S. Truman National Historic Site features his Independence home and his family's farm, in nearby Grandview. The courtroom and office where Truman started his political career and his presidential museum and library are also popular sites.
Other historical sites include the National Frontier Trails Museum, which documents westward expansion, and the 1859 Jail, famous for housing Jesse James' brother Frank. A variety of homes with historical pasts are available to view. These historic homes range from opulent Victorian era mansions to log cabins.
Independence is also a popular stop for shopping. Specialty shops, antique stores and restaurants are all within walking distance in the Historic Independence Square area. Visitors can take a horse-drawn covered wagon ride through historic sections of town.
Independence is located 20 miles southeast of Kansas City and 120 miles west of Columbia. It is accessible via Interstates 70 and 470. There are many lodging options including national hotel chains and bed & breakfasts.