Harry S Truman Historic Site
Preservation & Adaptive Reuse
Harry S Truman Historic Site
Truman Home, Truman Farmhouse and Noland House
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. Though he would move again to Independence 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 comprises the Truman and Noland homes in Independence, Missouri, and the Truman Farm Home in Grandview, Missouri. The homes are utilized by the National Park Service as historic museums preserving the life and legacy of our 33rd President.
Over the past 20 years BVH Architecture has been involved in many projects at the historic site. At the Truman Home and Farm, the National Park Service requested that BVH Architects conduct an evaluation of the current environmental conditions within the structures and to develop alternatives and recommendations for new systems to meet environmental control needs for each structure and the collections they hold. Because the Truman Home possesses original architectural materials, finishes and contents of the family home, interior environmental conditions were required to meet very strict museum collection storage standards. BVH developed plans to upgrade HVAC, fire protection systems as well as restore interior plaster and finish materials which had deteriorated over the years due to inadequate HVAC systems. 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. Special attention was given to minimize the impact of the new equipment on the historic fabric of both properties.
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. For this site, the BVH team of preservation professionals led a thorough investigation, documentation, and rehabilitation of the property into a visitor contact station for the Truman Home located across the street. The rehabilitation of the Noland House was initiated by the completion of a Historic Structure Report (HSR). This in-depth report documented the history of the house, assessed its existing conditions, and developed specific treatment recommendations for its repurposing.
Following completion of the report, BVH developed the first phase of construction documents for the rehabilitation of the Noland House. This work addressed the property’s most urgent needs, including a complete foundation replacement along with selected site improvements and utilities upgrades. The final phases of the Noland House rehabilitation has just recently been completed according to the BVH plan and the property is successfully being used as a visitor staging area and National Park Service office space.