Thursday, June 21, 2018


Harry S. Truman National Historic Site

Independence, MO

A visit to the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site begins at the visitor center located a few blocks from the Truman home.

After stamping my National Parks passport book, we “purchased” our tickets to tour the home.  Tour tickets cost $7.00.   The America the Beautiful pass was accepted saving us $14. 

We watched a short film in the theater and then spent some time looking at the exhibits.
Ranger-led tours are limited to 8 persons per tour and are timed.  We had quite a bit of time before our scheduled tour so we took a walk around the town where we discovered many things associated with Truman like the Historic Truman Courthouse and a business called, Wild About Harry.

When it was time to drive the few blocks to the Truman Home we were lucky to find a parking spot across the street in front of another Historic Site, The Noland Home.
The Noland House was home to Harry Truman’s cousins.  Truman often visited them on weekends.  On one such visit in 1910, Truman returned a borrowed cake plate from across the street at the home of Bess Wallace.

This deed began a courtship between Harry and Bess that lasted 9 years.  The house on North Delaware St. was the home of the Truman’s from the time of their marriage in 1919 to Harry’s death in 1972.
Our tour guide announced the rules for touring the house that included, no photography allowed, no touching of any exhibits and staying on the carpet runner throughout the tour.
The Ranger amused us with many tales about the Truman family including the fact that Truman shared the house with Bess’s grandmother and his mother-in-law whom he did not get along with.
When Truman and his family had moved to Independence in the 1890s when Harry was six year old.  He later wrote, “We were Baptists, but the Presbyterian preacher was so nice my folks let me go to Sunday School with him.  Lucky thing they did, too, because that’s where I first met Bess.  I was six, and she was five.  She had long golden hair, and I thought she was the prettiest girls I’d ever seen.”

The home served as the “Summer White House” during Truman’s presidency and was often used by the family when away from Washington and on holidays. 

The Truman’s only child Mary Margaret was born in 1924 and was so close to her parents that they were referred to as “The Three Musketeers.” 

Mary Margaret inherited the home upon her mother’s death in 1982. 

Entering the house is like stepping into a time capsule.  Everything from the furniture to the table setting to the kitchen appliances have been preserved at the time of Bess’s death.

After touring the main house we crossed the street where we did a self-guided tour of the Noland Home that house part of the museum collection.


World Bird Sanctuary and Lone Elk Park

St. Louis, MO

World Bird Sanctuary, one of North America’s largest facilities for the conservation of birds with 305 acres offers environmental education opportunities and provides refuge to over 270 residents and rehabilitation and emergency care for up to 400 patients every year.

The Sanctuary’s mission is to preserve, protect and inspire to safeguard bird species for future generations.
Located nearby is Lone Elk Park, which was once part of the Tyson Valley Powder Plant used for the testing and storage of ammunition during WWII. 
The area served as a County Park after the war and herds of elk and bison were established in 1948.
The Federal Government re-acquired the land during the Korean War, and for safety reasons the wildlife herds were destroyed in 1958. 
One lone elk survived.

St. Louis County reacquired the land in 1964 and changed the park to Lone Elk.  Six additional elk were obtained from Yellowstone National Park in 1966 and in 1973 six bison were acquired from the St. Louis Zoo. (We didn't see the bison but we saw plenty of elk, deer and raccoons.)
I thought this little guy was so cute so I got out of the car to get a better look. 
Then all of a sudden he began running towards me so I jumped back in the truck and slammed the door shut just in time.