Gloria Smith, chairperson of the Independence Beautification Commission and a board member of the Jackson County Historical Society, says sometimes she has trouble saying no to new projects.

Gloria Smith, chairperson of the Independence Beautification Commission and a board member of the Jackson County Historical Society, says sometimes she has trouble saying no to new projects.

“My passions have kind of narrowed down to history, and especially local history,” she says.

Maybe that’s why she’s in the middle of efforts to restore the Truman Depot in Independence and the Historical Society’s work to preserve the famous neon sign from the landmark Stephenson’s Old Apple Farm Restaurant, which closed five years ago and is being torn down shortly to make way for a QuikTrip.

“We’ve lost so much, and we can’t afford to lose any more,” she says.

On the Historical Society’s efforts to save the sign from the old Stephenson’s:
“It’s really nostalgic for the boomer generation. ... It certainly pushes buttons for people in Independence.”

On efforts to rescue, restore and relocate the Statue of Liberty replica that once stood at the Independence junior high school and now stands at the Midwest Genealogy Center on Lee’s Summit Road:
“I just picked up the ball and ran with it. It was a fun project.”

On efforts to restore the Truman Depot in Independence:
“I’m still moving, but I’m getting there.”