I had the opportunity to be the keynote speaker for the Missouri state preservation conference yesterday, in the Truman Memorial Building in Independence, Missouri. Last night we saw the Truman museum which included a fabulous replica of the Oval Office and of course Truman’s “The Buck stops here” desk sign.
I attended two sessions yesterday, one that taught me about the three major western trails that went through Independence (Santa Fe, California and Oregon) and another that dealt with BIMs, which are used for energy audits for historic buildings. Fascinating stuff. They model some of these historic buildings and find amazing things – like there is no sense insulating 3-foot thick walls or even double-glazing clerestories in lightly used space (You save more energy zoning the heating and cooling). It is nice that the metrics are finally here to demonstrate the energy efficiency of historic buildings.
I also learned that Independence was where Joseph Smith and the Mormons came before they went to Nauvoo, and there is a cool church built 17 years ago by the RLDS, one of several Mormon groups now separate from the Salt Lake Church.
I also learned about the Truman historic district, an NHL designated in the 1970s and then followed by a locally-supported local district in the 1970s. President Harry S. Truman lived 64 of his 84 years in Independence, and walked around town every day he was there. This has become a symbol of the city’s heritage and historic district.
Sadly, the district got eviscerated by local churches throwing elbows in the 1980s and is now a slender not quite sensical protected area within the larger NHL. I chatted with Jon Taylor, who has written a book about the three heritages (Truman, Mormons, Trails) of Independence. This is a nice place, and we also heard from Ken McLain, who has singlehandedly saved much of the courthouse square, despite the fact that it is outside the NHL and thus not eligible for tax credits. He even saved the Clinton drugstore where Truman worked as a teen.
Had a good time here- lots of challenges and history, and a lot of nice compliments about my talk. Now, a final image of the McCoy-Owens House.
Thanks to Karen Bode Baxter, Trudy Faulkner, Kristen McSparren Otteson and all my other friends new and old in the KC – Independence area.