Celebrate Truman’s Birthday in Missouri

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It’s about 1,100 miles from Lamar, Missouri, to Washington, D.C., and he no doubt would have enjoyed the walk.

But Harry S. Truman’s path to the White House wasn’t that direct.

Before becoming president, Truman served in the Army during World War I, worked retail at a men’s clothing store in Kansas City, served as a judge in Jackson County, spent four years in the U.S. Senate and was the country’s vice president for 82 days.

Truman was sworn in as president upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945. He was elected president – the only Missourian to hold the distinction – in 1948 and served another four years before retiring to his home in Independence.

A favorite son of Missouri, Truman Day is celebrated every year on May 8 – the date he was born in 1883 in Lamar – with an official state holiday.

As his birthday approaches, it’s a great time to learn more about this fascinating Missourian and the impact he had on the world around him.

Among the excellent locations for brushing up on your Truman trivia are:

  • Harry S. Truman Library and Museum – Truman’s papers, personal artifacts and a replica oval office are part of the experience. Truman and his wife, Bess, are buried in the Library’s courtyard. This attraction recently underwent extensive renovations and now features new interactive exhibits.
  • Truman Home in Independence – Get an inside look at Truman’s life at his home, which is a National Historic Site. Truman lived here from 1919 until he died in 1972, spanning the years before, during and after his presidency.
  • Harry S. Truman Walking Trail – Follow the president’s footsteps – quite literally – as you walk this 2.7-mile path around Independence. It’s said to have been Truman’s favorite walking route and today includes 43 informational plaques.
  • Harry S Truman Birthplace State Historic Site – See where it all began for Truman. Outside this small home, located about two hours south of Independence, stands an Austrian pine tree planted by Harry’s father on the day the future president was born.
  • Harry S. Truman Reservoir – Known to most as Truman Lake, this massive body of water covers more than 55,000 acres and is a great destination for anglers seeking crappie and bass. A peninsula that juts into the lake is the site of Harry S Truman State Park, a popular destination for hiking, swimming and camping.

These are a few of the places to explore when you visit Missouri with a Truman-focused itinerary. Learn more about these sites, and other attractions with ties to Truman, at