Harry S. Truman Historic Site
Preservation & Adaptive Reuse
Harry S. Truman Historic Site
Born to a farmer and livestock dealer, the boy who would become the 33rd President of the United States spent his formative years in the unassuming heartland of America.
Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri, in 1884. When he was three his family moved to his grandparent’s farm. Thought he would move again to Independance when he was six, he would return to the farm as a young man before entering the army in 1917. During these early years Truman often visited his cousins Nellie and Ethel Noland at their home across town, and their neighbor, a young Bess Wallace, who lived across the street. Following a long courtship, Harry and Bess married in 1919 and moved into her home at 219 N. Delaware. Truman rose to political prominence as a U.S. senator before being elected Vice-President in 1944. Upon the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1945, Truman became President and held the office until 1953. Throughout his political career, Truman remained closely tied to his roots in Independence, making the Independance, MO, home their “Summer White House.” Upon retirement he and Bess returned to live in the house permanently.
The Harry S. Truman National Historic Site is comprised of the Truman and Noland homes in Independence, Missouri, and the Truman Farm Home in Grandview, Missouri. The homes are kept by the National Park Service as historic museums preserving the life and legacy of the 33rd president.
The National Park Service requested that BVH Architects conduct an evaluation of the current environmental conditions within the Truman Farm Home and Truman Home, and to develop alternatives and recommendations for new systems to meet the environmental control goals for each structure. Because the Truman Home possesses original architectural materials, finishes and contents of the family home, interior environmental conditions must meet minimum museum collection storage standards. Architects developed plans to restore interior plaster and finish materials which have deteriorated over the years due to inadequate HVAC systems. Special attention was given to minimize the impact of the new equipment on the historic fabric of both properties. The ultimate goal for this effort was to identify HVAC systems to aid in the preservation of the buildings and their contents for the benefit of visitors.
Due to its significant role in the life and career of Harry S. Truman, the Noland House is an important part of the Truman National Historic Site. A team of preservationists led by BVH Architects conducted a thorough investigation, documentation, and rehabilitation of the property. These efforts were initiated through the completion of a Historic Structure Report (HSR) for the Noland House. This in-depth report documents the history of the house, assesses its existing conditions, and develops treatment recommendations.
Following completion of the report, BVH helped develop the first phase of construction documents for the rehabilitation of the Noland House. This work addressed the property’s most urgent needs, and included a complete foundation replacement along with selected site improvements and utilities upgrades. Future phases of work will continue to address the remaining interior rehabilitation of the Noland House and site accessibility issues so the property can eventually be used as a visitor staging area and Park Service office space.