Every town has its architectural landmarks, and Independence certainly has more than most. The historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse and Community of Christ Temple dominate the skyline and have contributed to our local brand.

Every town has its architectural landmarks, and Independence certainly has more than most. The historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse and Community of Christ Temple dominate the skyline and have contributed to our local brand.

The Truman Home on Delaware Street and the elegant Bingham-Waggoner Estate and Vaile Mansion connect us to the past and tell significant stories about our place in American history.

On Lee’s Summit Road the significant place that draws locals’ attention and affection is Swinney Hall on the campus of Drumm Farm. Dating to the 1880s, the impressive brick structure is the centerpiece of the farm and the only remaining original building on the grounds.

When Major Andrew Drumm purchased the 370-acre farm in 1912 for the purpose of offering stability and education to disadvantaged boys, he designated Swinney Hall as a dormitory to house the boys living on campus and working the farm.

Renovations of the building have been ongoing, and thanks to the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Greg and Ann Hummel of Independence, the project is continuing to move forward. The philanthropic couple recently announced their pledge to contribute $50,000 to aid Drumm Farm in restoring the residence, the single largest gift to the project, which has been stalwartly supported and promoted by community members, including Jim and Dr. Michele McIntosh among others.

“Greg and I felt compelled to give to the Swinney House renovation because of what it represents to our community,” said Ann Hummel. “It is not only an historical icon which needs to be preserved, but is also the culmination of a dream of Drumm to serve the area by providing a home for foster children.”

Throughout its history Drumm Farm has stayed true to the mission of its founder, admitting boys and girls in the custody of the Missouri Department of Social Services who need foster care placement.

Through a collaborative relationship with the Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association, Drumm Farm has developed into a foster care hub for training and services, serving more than 1,500 foster children in the area. Drumm Farm is privately funded and tuition-free for foster children from birth to 18.

As Drumm Farm has evolved, allowing for the use of land for the Drumm Farm Golf Club and the Drumm Villas, the historic Swinney Hall has remained a sacred piece of the landscape throughout the organization’s growth. Exterior renovations of the building have been completed to stabilize the structure and prevent further deterioration.

The Phase I renovation included roof replacement, masonry tuck pointing, new windows and doors, the restoration of the buildings’ three porches and other capital improvements and upgrades.

Phase II of the Swinney Hall project calls for interior renovations, which will allow the building to be re-established as living space.

The completion of the project will result in the creation of transitional living apartments for foster youth who “age out” of the system when they become a legal adult at 18.

Drumm Farm is committed to keeping sibling groups together whenever possible and supporting young men and women until they are able to be self-sufficient, regardless of circumstances.

The Hummels, in speaking of their decision to contribute so openhandedly to the project said, “We hope to inspire others to give to such a longstanding example of stability and caring for the children in our community.”

To contribute to the Swinney Hall restoration or learn more about Drumm Farm, visit www.drummfarm.org or call 816-373-3434.