Workers on Monday started on a household project that could take the rest of the summer – repainting the Truman Home in Independence.
The home at 219 N. Delaware St. is almost 8,000 square feet in size, and the original structure dates to 1867, with a major addition in 1885. It was last repainted in 2009.
“We have to take a lot of extra time in prep work so the paint will stick,” said Greg Wolcott, facility operations specialist with the National Park Service, which maintains the home and provides tours.
Workers plan to power wash the home twice, strip old paint and replace rotted wood.
“So it’s more involved than just painting. There’s quite a lot of wood rot,” said Carol Dage, superintendent of the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site.
Wolcott said the contractor thinks the work can be done in eight weeks but asked for, and was given, 12 weeks just in case.
The home, which attracted 34,616 visitors in 2016, remains open during the project.
“We’re just going to have to reroute our tours a little bit,” Dage said.
Tours are guided, in groups of eight. To tour the home, get a ticket at the Park Service office at 223 N. Main St.. Tickets are $5 for adults and free for those 15 and younger.
The home originally belonged to the family of Bess Wallace Truman. She grew up there. Harry moved in when he and Bess married in 1919. They moved back when Harry Truman left the presidency in 1953 and lived there for the rest of their lives.
The Park Service aims to keep the home looking as it did in 1982, when Bess Truman died and the family turned the home over to the government. That even means leaving some of the bushes looking as if they’re a little overgrown, Wolcott said.
The Trumans’ eldest grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, was in town last week and during a Truman Library program mentioned that Harry and Bess saw the large back porch as their sanctuary and, for privacy, let some of the bushes grow a bit tall.