Truman Years to Truman Complex: 1923 - 1972

Truman's Legacy
During World War I, Truman had become friendly with Jim Pendergast. In mid-1921 when Truman and Jacobson’s haberdashery was flourishing, Jim’s father, Mike, asked Truman if he would like to run for judge of the county court for the eastern district. His offer was declined, but Truman eventually entered into the race as an independent.

Jackson Countians then - as now - owe Truman much gratitude for his vision and successful execution of a multitude of decisions that kept Jackson County at the forefront of forward-thinking county planning, civic up-building, good government, welfare and healthcare issues. County Court minutes are full of details that tell the story of how Jackson County survived (and in some instances thrived) during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Truman as Presiding Judge

Under Harry S Truman as Presiding Judge, Jackson County voters passed a multi-million dollar bond issue. This measure was instituted at the onset of the Great Depression. It helped pump money into the local economy for works projects like building bridges, roads and civic structures. The Jackson County Courthouse in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, was constructed from this bond measure. And, the Jackson County Courthouse at the County Seat on Independence Square was remodeled.
Harry S. Truman Jackson County Presiding Judge 1927 - 1934 and President of the United States 1945 -
Jackson County Courthouse in Independence in the Early 1930s
New Independence Courthouse
The original dedication of the new courthouse took place on September 7, 1933. The dedication program titled, “A Century of Progress,” included such festivities as a motion picture show; Old Fiddlers’ contest; swimming and diving contests at the Independence Natatorium; horse show and ladies’ riding contest; a parade; band concerts; championship sports of all kinds; street dances; a carnival; and a pageant depicting the historical development of Jackson County. Miss Margaret Truman, Harry Truman's daughter, and long-time Independence Mayor Roger T. Sermon Jr. unveiled the official dedication tablets on the south side of the façade. Bess Truman’s uncle, David Frederick Wallace, was part of the architectural design team that included Keene and Simpson, Kansas City architects.

As for the remodeled building on Independence Square, “Truman’s Courthouse” is still a vital and viable structure with a fascinating history in and of itself. A facelift for the 21st Century has been taking place and you can participate in the local effort to help raise private funding to continue the restoration work. Visit the Truman Courthouse website for more information.
World War II & the Greatest Generation
By serving in World War II, Jackson Countians stood bravely in the effort to combat the Axis powers that were terrorizing Europe and Asia.

The Jackson County Historical Society is gathering oral histories of the Greatest Generation (more than 1,200 interviews as of December 2007), and has collated the most comprehensive list of area memorials, monuments and museums that interpret Jackson County - and America - at war, defending liberty. Your portal to Jackson County history begins online.

Truman Sports Complex
One of the major accomplishments of the County Court at this time was the successful passage, planning and construction of the Truman Sports Complex. The noncurrent, historical records of the Jackson County Sports Authority are preserved in the Jackson County Historical Society’s Archives. Alex M. Petrovic, Harry Wiggins and Floyd L. Snyder Sr., have also donated some of their personal papers to the Society’s collections.