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Overview

Introduction to Independence, Missouri

The Missouri city of Independence sits about 10 miles east of Kansas City and is considered part of the Kansas City metropolitan area. The county seat of Missouri's Jackson County, Independence is most famous for being the birthplace and residence of Harry S. Truman, the nation's 33rd President. The city is surrounded by several major highways, including Interstates I-70 and I-435; U.S. Routes 24 and 40; and Missouri State Highways 210 and 291. Nearby communities include Liberty (to the north), Blue Springs (to the west), and Grandview (to the south).

Originally called Big Spring, the community of Independence was settled in the early 19th century by missionaries sent by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) to convert the Indians living in eastern Kansas and western Missouri. Although later expelled from the area due to tension with local Missourians, the Latter-Day Saints and its offshoots gradually returned to the city, at times making Independence their headquarters. In the mid-1800s Independence was officially defined by an act of Congress as the starting point of the Oregon Trail. A period of growth ensued, although the area was split by conflicting sentiments during the Civil War. The city became the site of two important battles during the war, one of which resulted in the capture of the town by Confederate troops. During the 20th century, Independence was put on the map by the presence of one of its most celebrated natives, Harry S. Truman. Truman, who grew up in the area, was elected presiding judge of the county court in 1922 and then to the U.S. Senate in 1934. In 1944 he was elected as Franklin D. Roosevelt's vice-president and became President one year later upon Roosevelt's death. Truman was reelected in 1948. During his tenure, Truman often returned to Independence, using his local home as a summer White House. His home and Presidential Library are now two of the city's biggest tourist attractions.

Attractions in Independence

The pivotal role played by Independence in American history is reflected in its grandly restored mansions. One of these, Vaile Mansion, was built in 1881 by local entrepreneur Harvey Merrick Vaile, and represents one of the finest examples of Second-Empire Victorian architecture in the country. The Bingham-Waggoner Estate was constructed in 1855 and was once owned by George C. Bingham, famed Civil War artist. Marshal's Home & Museum is contained in an 1859 jailhouse which once housed Frank James, Jesse James notorious brother. The Truman Home, whose beauty lies in its simplicity, offers a glimpse at the personal life of the nation's 33rd President. The Truman Presidential Museum & Library features exhibits, audio and video programs, and artifacts celebrating the Truman presidency and also his pre and post presidential life. Other Truman landmarks in Independence include the Truman Courthouse & Office, the Truman Memorial Building, the Truman Depot, and the Truman Farm. One of Independence's most celebrated annual events is the Santa-Cali-Gon Days, a Labor Day festival celebrating the city's heritage as a starting point on three major frontier trails: the Santa Fe Trail, the California Trail and the Oregon Trail.

Sports fans can find plenty of action just a few minutes west of Independence in Kansas City, where three major league pro franchises are located. Major League Baseball's Kansas City Royals are an American League mainstay, while the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs attract large crowds every fall and winter. Kansas City is also home to the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer (MLS).

People

Total Population 117,192
Male Share of the Population 47%
Female Share of the Population 53%
Senior Citizens 17.2%
Employed Population 16+ 51,482
Age of the Population 40

Families

% of people married 45.7%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 18%
Median Earnings25+ $32,830
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $20,831
Median Earnings With High School Degree $29,900

Wealth

Median Family Income $55,637
% Above Poverty Level 82.1%
% Below Poverty Level 17.9%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 24 minutes
% Working from Home 3%
% Walking and Biking to Work 1.1%
% Using Public Transportation 0.6%

Housing

People Living Alone 33.2%
Median Gross Rent $775
Median House Value $98,600

Ancestry

Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 26.4%
US/American 0%
English 8.6%
Irish 9.5%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Independence Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 8 miles E of Kansas City, Missouri
County Jackson
Metro Area Kansas City
Standard Zip Codes 64050, 64052, 64053, 64054, 64055, 64056, 64057, 64058
P.O. Box Zip Codes 64051
Phone Area Codes 816
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 39.091
Longitude -94.415

Independence Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

Notes:

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station INDEPENDENCE
Distance 0.6 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 36 F
Apr Temp 42 to 64 F
Jul Temp 67 to 88 F
Oct Temp 46 to 67 F
Annual Precip 43.1 inches
Station KANSAS CITY DOWNTOWN AP
Distance 10.1 miles
Jan Temp 21 to 38 F
Apr Temp 46 to 67 F
Jul Temp 72 to 91 F
Oct Temp 49 to 69 F
Annual Precip 35.5 inches
Station KANSAS CITY INTL AP
Distance 21.7 miles
Jan Temp 18 to 36 F
Apr Temp 44 to 65 F
Jul Temp 68 to 89 F
Oct Temp 46 to 68 F
Annual Precip 37.9 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Avondale 392 $53,750
Birmingham 212 $79,286
Lake Tapawingo 689 $87,750

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Independence Public Libraries

Library
Mid-continent Consolidated Library District #
15616 EAST 24 HIGHWAY
Independence, Missouri
(816) 836-5200
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Independence Hospitals

INDEPENDENCE REGIONAL HEALTH CENTER
(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
1509 W TRUMAN RD
(816) 836-8100
Emergency Service: Yes

MEDICAL CENTER OF INDEPENDENCE
(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
17203 E 23RD ST
(816) 478-5000
Emergency Service: Yes

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Independence High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

WILLIAM CHRISMAN HIGH
1223 N NOLAND RD
816-521-2720
Serves 1,721 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.4

TRUMAN HIGH
3301 S NOLAND RD
816-521-2710
Serves 1,700 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 20.2

FORT OSAGE HIGH
2101 N TWYMAN RD
816-650-7063
Serves 1,397 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.1

VAN HORN HIGH
1109 ARLINGTON
816-418-4000
A Title I School.
Serves 1,046 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.6

INDEPENDENCE ACADEMY
600 W MECHANIC
816-521-2747
Serves 79 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 9.9

MCCUNE SCHOOL FOR BOYS
2101 N TWYMAN RD
816-650-7490
Serves 56 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 5.3

OZANAM-INDEPENDENCE
600 W MECHANIC AVE
816-521-2750
Serves 56 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 5.6

CAR. & TECH. CTR. AT FT. OSAGE
2101 N TWYMAN RD
816-650-7180
A Vocational School

Independence Colleges

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Additional Details
Independence Colleges
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