Independence Missouri

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Independence is the 5th most populous city in Missouri, United States, and the county seat of Jackson County. Independence is a satellite city of Kansas City, Missouri, and is the largest suburb on the Missouri side of the Kansas City metropolitan area. In 2020, it had a total population of 123,011.

Independence is known as the "Queen City of the Trails" because it was a point of departure for the California, Oregon, and Santa Fe Trails. It is the hometown of U.S. President Harry S. Truman, with the Truman Presidential Library and Museum, and the gravesites of Truman and First Lady Bess Truman. The city is sacred to the Latter Day Saint movement, as the home of Joseph Smith's 1831 Temple Lot, and the headquarters of several Mormon denominations.

Independence was originally inhabited by Missouri and Osage Native Americans, followed by the Spanish and a brief French tenure. It became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Lewis and Clark recorded in their journals that they stopped in 1804 to pick plums, raspberries, and wild apples at a site that would later form part of the city. Independence was also a stopping point for the "Donner Party", an ill-fated group of 19th-century wagon train emigrants whose westward journey along the California Trail ended in disaster; spawning one of the most well known and taboo stories of pioneer-era America.

Named after the Declaration of Independence, Independence was founded on March 29, 1827, and quickly became an important frontier town. Independence was the farthest point westward on the Missouri River where the steamboats or other cargo vessels could travel, due to the convergence of the Kansas River with the Missouri River approximately six miles west of town, near the current Kansas-Missouri border. Independence immediately became a jumping-off point for the emerging fur trade, accommodating merchants and adventurers beginning the long trek westward on the Santa Fe Trail.

In 1831, members of the Latter Day Saint movement began moving to the Jackson County, Missouri area. Shortly thereafter, founder Joseph Smith declared a spot west of the Courthouse Square to be the place for his prophesied temple of the New Jerusalem, in expectation of the Second Coming of Christ. Tension grew with local Missourians until the Latter Day Saints were driven from the area in 1833, the beginning of a conflict which culminated in the 1838 Mormon War. Several branches of this movement gradually returned to the city beginning in 1867, with many making their headquarters there. These include the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), the Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite) and the Restoration Branches.

Independence saw great prosperity from the late 1830s through the mid-1840s, while the business of outfitting pioneers boomed. Between 1848 and 1868, it was a hub of the California Trail. On March 8, 1849, the Missouri General Assembly granted a home-rule charter to the town and on July 18, 1849, William McCoy was elected as its first mayor. In the mid-19th century an Act of the United States Congress defined Independence as the start of the Oregon Trail.

Two important Civil War battles occurred at Independence: the first on August 11, 1862, when Confederate soldiers took control of the town, and the second in October 1864, which resulted in a Union victory. The war took its toll on Independence and the town was never able to regain its previous prosperity, although a flurry of building activity took place soon after the war. The rise of nearby Kansas City also contributed to the town's relegation to a place of secondary prominence in Jackson County, though Independence has retained its position as county seat to the present day.

United States President Harry S. Truman grew up in Independence, and in 1922 was elected judge of the Court of Jackson County, Missouri (an administrative, not judicial, post). Although he was defeated for reelection in 1924, he won back the office in 1926 and was reelected in 1930. Truman performed his duties diligently, and won personal acclaim for several popular public works projects, including an extensive series of fine roads for the growing use of automobiles, the building of a new County Court building in Independence, and a series of 12 Madonna of the Trail monuments to pioneer women dedicated across the country in 1928 and 1929. He would later return to the city after two terms as president. His wife, First Lady Bess Truman, was born and raised in Independence, and both are buried there. The Harry S. Truman National Historic Site (Truman's home) and the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum are both located in Independence, as is one of Truman's boyhood residences.

Independence is located on the south bank of the Missouri River, near the western edge of the state. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 78.25 square miles (202.67 km2), of which 77.57 square miles (200.91 km2) is land and 0.68 square miles (1.76 km2) is water.

The 2020 United States census counted 123,011 people, 48,836 households, and 28,955 families in Independence. The population density was 1,577.7 per square mile (609.2/km2). There were 54,120 housing units at an average density of 694.1 per square mile (268.0/km2). The racial makeup (including Hispanics in the racial counts) was 72.61% (89,323) white, 8.68% (10,678) black or African-American, 0.76% (936) Native American, 1.19% (1,468) Asian, 0.67% (826) Pacific Islander, 5.52% (6,795) from other races, and 10.56% (12,985) from two or more races.[citation needed] Hispanic or Latino of any race was 12.2% (15,042) of the population.

Of the 48,836 households, 24.0% had children under the age of 18; 40.1% were married couples living together; 33.0% had a female householder with no husband present. Of all households, 33.5% consisted of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.4 and the average family size was 3.1.

21.5% of the population was under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.5 years. For every 100 females, the population had 91.4 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older, there were 89.4 males.

The 2016-2020 5-year American Community Survey estimates show that the median household income was $50,797 (with a margin of error of +/- $1,935) and the median family income was $64,271 (+/- $2,089). Males had a median income of $40,007 (+/- $1,690) versus $26,762 (+/- $1,098) for females. The median income for those above 16 years old was $32,462 (+/- $1,353). Approximately, 11.2% of families and 14.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.3% of those under the age of 18 and 7.1% of those ages 65 or over.

As of the census of 2010, there were 116,830 people, 48,742 households, and 30,165 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,506.1 inhabitants per square mile (581.5/km2). There were 53,834 housing units at an average density of 694.0 per square mile (268.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was

There were 48,742 households, of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.1% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.97.

The median age in the city was 39.4 years. 23% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.9% were from 25 to 44; 27.4% were from 45 to 64; and 16.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.0% male and 52.0% female.

As of the census of 2000, there were 113,288 people, 47,390 households, and 30,566 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,446.3 inhabitants per square mile (558.4/km2). There were 50,213 housing units at an average density of 641.1 per square mile (247.5/km2). Independence has a population of 111,806 in 1980 and 112,301 in 1990. The racial makeup of the city was 91.87% White, 2.59% African American, 0.70% Asian, 0.64% Native American, 0.46% Pacific Islander, 1.43% from other races, and 2.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.69% of the population.

There were 47,390 households, out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.9% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,012, and the median income for a family was $45,876. Males had a median income of $34,138 versus $25,948 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,384. About 6.4% of families and 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.8% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.

Independence played an important role in the early history of the Latter Day Saint movement, and is home to the headquarters of several separatist denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement, most notably the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), whose Temple is located there. Other Latter Day Saint denominations headquartered in the city include the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) and the Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite), among others. A number of Restoration Branches are also located in and around Independence, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains a visitor center in the town.

The Community of Christ has built a temple in Independence, and also maintains a large auditorium and other buildings nearby. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates a sizable visitors' center adjacent to the Community of Christ Temple, and across the street from the original Temple Lot designated by Joseph Smith in 1830. The Lot itself is occupied by a small white-frame church building that serves as the headquarters and local meeting house for the Church of Christ (Temple Lot).

There are five Catholic churches and several Episcopal churches in Independence.

One of the oldest churches in Independence is the First Presbyterian Church, founded in 1826. It was here in 1890 that Harry Truman first met Elizabeth (Bess) Wallace. Truman eventually married her after his return from World War I in 1919.

According to the town's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

The Independence City Council is made up of six members. Four are elected to represent one of the city districts, and the other two are elected by the city as a whole. The City Mayor also sits on the City Council and serves as the "Head of Government" for the city, The Mayor can vote on legislation with the council but does not have the right to veto. Members serve a four-year term, beginning on January 1 following the election. The current mayor is Rory Rowland, a Democrat, elected in 2022.

The Independence Municipal Court is currently seated by two members. Judges are appointed by the City Mayor and serve a 4-year term. Judges may be reappointed for multiple terms by the Mayor or the City Council.

Four school districts have areas within the city: Independence, Blue Springs, Fort Osage Schools, and Raytown.

Prior to Fall 2008, parts of western Independence in the Van Horn feeder pattern resided in the Kansas City, Missouri School District, but all of these students are now part of the Independence school district.

Three public high schools are located within the city limits:

Two private high schools within the city limits:

Santa-Cali-Gon Days is an annual Labor Day festival held in Independence intermittently since 1940 and continuously since 1973, celebrating the city's heritage as a starting point of three major frontier trails: the Santa Fe, California and Oregon. Another popular annual festival is the Vaile Strawberry Festival, which is held on the first Saturday of June at the Vaile Mansion, 1500 N. Liberty, five blocks north of the historic Square. The Independence Heritage Festival is a celebration of the diverse culture that exist in Independence. The Independence town square features numerous family-owned shops surrounding the old main courthouse, which was modeled after Philadelphia's Independence Hall. This courthouse houses Harry S. Truman's former courtroom and office.

Blue River Community College features a soccer program with a men's team and women's team. The Trailblazers (men) went all the way to the NJCAA Region 16 semifinals before concluding their season. The Lady Trailblazers (women) finished as runners up in the region. The Cable Dahmer Arena is home of the Kansas City Mavericks, a minor-league hockey team in the ECHL. Silverstein Eye Centers Arena is also the home of Kansas City Comets of the Major Arena Soccer League, the top level of professional indoor soccer. Crysler Stadium is the home of the collegiate summer baseball Independence Veterans of the Mid-Plains League.

Local recreational sports teams include:

YMCA and Parks and Recreation have programs for various sports for all people.

In 1978, Independence gained sister city status with Higashimurayama, Tokyo, Japan. Higashimurayama Street is south of Truman Rd. between Memorial Dr. and Lynn St., between City Hall and the Independence Square. This twinning is commemorated by a Zen garden, near E Lexington Ave. and Memorial Dr.

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