Jackson County has another venue to explore its rich history.
The event that kicks it off is centered on the Historic Truman Courthouse, which is also is the site of presentations. The Brady Courtroom history program begins with a presentation by David W. Jackson, archives and education director of the Jackson County Historical Society.
His newest book is “Winding the Clock on the Independence Square: Jackson County’s Historic Truman Courthouse.” He’ll discuss it from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. April 26 in the Brady Courtroom on the second floor of the courthouse. The courtroom – used continuously from 1838 to 1972 and last used in 2001 – has been restored along with the rest of the courthouse, which was rededicated last September. Sixth District Magistrate Court Judge Joe Brady used the courtroom for 25 years.
Jackson has been working on book, his latest of many over the years, for about two and a half years.
“It’s just a personal interest of mine,” he said.
His research goes back to just before the county’s establishment in 1826 and turned up nuggets such as the fact that the origins of the courthouse – a structure within the current structure – don’t go back quite as far as previously believed.
“I found that that it’s actually 1838” when the first building went up, not 1836, he said.
Jackson’s other books include “A History of Pink Hill Park and the Veterans Way Memorial, Blue Springs, Missouri” and, with Paul Kirkman, “Lock Down: Outlaws, Lawmen & Frontier Justice in Jackson County, Missouri.” His next project is about slavery in Jackson County.
Those who attend the Brady Courtroom presentations, which are free, also can get a tour of the building afterward. The courthouse has the offices and archives of the Historical Society; the Jackson County Museum of Art with a large collection of paintings by George Caleb Bingham; and well as government offices.
Other presentations, all from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.:
• May 31, Giles Fowler, author of “Deaths on Pleasant Street: The Ghastly Enigma of Colonel Swope and Doctor Hyde.”
• June 21, Diane Mutti-Burke discusses her books, “On Slavery’s Border: Missouri’s Small Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865,” and “Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border .”
• July 12, local lawyer and filmmaker Gary Jenkins talks about his documentary, “Gangland Wire,” about the Kansas City mafia.
• Aug. 16, Historical Society Executive Director Steve Noll draws on his personal collection of postcards and discusses “Postcards as the Original Social Media,” focusing on Kansas City’s iconic sites.
• Sept. 6, William Patrick O’Brien, former historic preservation manager for the city of Independence will discuss his book “Merchants of Independence: International Trade on the Santa Fe Trail, 1827-1860.”
• In October – date to be determined – local and author attorney Ralph A. Monaco II discusses “150th Anniversary of the Battle of the Little Blue; 2nd Battle of Independence, and Battle of Westport.”
• Nov. 8, Monroe Dodd discusses his book “Christmastime in Kansas City.”