The public is getting a glimpse into a key part of the story of Harry Truman this weekend.
The Truman Farm Home in Grandview will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
The farm is open for self-guided tours daily from sunrise to sunset, “but the home itself has been closed for a few years” because of budget cuts, said Doug Richardson, chief of interpretation and visitor services at the Harry S Truman National Historic site. That’s the National Park Service site that includes both the Truman Home in Independence and the Farm Home.
The Park Service tries to open up the home when it can. This is the third year for this event, and Richardson said it’s drawn 250 to 300 each time. A similar event is being planned for this fall. There will people telling Truman stories in various rooms of the home. Photography inside the house is not allowed.
In 1906, Harry Truman was 22 and making $100 a month working at a bank in downtown Kansas City when the family suddenly needed him to come help work the farm. He did that for 11 years – not the thing on which he had set his sights but he did it with a large measure of diligence and a sense of duty.
Those years went a long way toward shaping the person he became. He courted Bess Wallace during that time, before World War I took him to Europe, commanding an artillery unit and discovering his own ability to lead. That helped propel him into politics.
The Truman Farm Home is at 12301 Blue Ridge Blvd.
Truman’s birthday is near – he was born May 8, 1884 – and there are several Truman events on Saturday:
• All Independence historic sites will offer admission for $1 or free. Those sites include the Truman Library & Museum, the Truman Home, the 1859 Jail and Marshal’s Home, the Vaile Mansion and the Bingham-Waggoner Estate.
• A large birthday card will be at Clinton’s Drug Store on the Square for people to sign, and many local shops will have Truman Day specials.
• The Truman Birthplace State Historic Site is holding several events. The site – a house and a few outbuildings on modest grounds – is in Lamar, Mo., about an hour and a half south of Kansas City on Interstate 49. The address is 1009 Truman St., two miles east of I-49.
Events are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include historic demonstrations, music, food, crafts, wagon rides, kids historic games, World War I and World War II re-enactors – and cake.