Within the state of Missouri, the city of Independence is the 4th largest. It is largely contained in the counties of Clay and Jackson and is part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. The city of Independence had a total population of 116,830 based on the 2010 Census. Independence is the county seat of Jackson County. Because it was one of the departure points of the California, Santa Fe and Oregon trails, it is knick-named the "Queen City of the Trails."
The original residents of the area were the Missouri and Osage Indians. Much later on, Spanish settlers and for a short time French settlers lived in the area. Independence became a part of the United States during the year 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. During 1804, Lewis and Clark recorded that they stopped there in their journals and that they picked plums, raspberries and wild apples at a place which would later be a part of Independence.
Independence City was established on March 29th of the year 1827. It began as a popular frontier township and was the furthest western port along the Missouri River that both steamboats and cargo vessels can travel. The vessels could get through this region because of the convergence of the Missouri River with the Kansas River. The rivers converge approximately six miles west of town, near the current of the Missouri-Kansas border. Independence soon became a jumping off point for the newly emerging fur business. The city of Independence accommodated both merchants and adventurers who were on their westward journey along the Santa Fe Trail.
The interesting role the city of Independence played in American history is reflected in its gorgeously restored mansions. For instance, the Vaile Mansion was built during the year 1881 by a local entrepreneur by the name of Harvey Merrick Vaile. This famous house represents one of the best examples of Second-Empire Victorian architecture in the nation. During 1855, the Bingham-Waggoner Estate was constructed. This was once the home of renowned Civil War artist George C. Bingham. The Marshal's Home & Museum is situated in a jailhouse that was built during 1859. This particular jailhouse was once home to Frank James, the brother of Jessie James.
Another famous house in the city of Independence is the Truman Home. It offers a glimpse of simplicity and elegance into the life of the former president. There are audio and video programs featured in the Truman Presidential Museum and Library, as well as many artifacts celebrating his life pre and post presidency, as well as in his campaign.
The head office of the Community of Christ is situated within the city of Independence. This denomination is the 2nd largest within the current Latter Day Saint movement. The church maintains many other buildings and a big auditorium and also a temple in Independence. There is a big center for visitors beside the Community of Christ Temple which belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Community of Christ Temple is situated directly across the street from the original Temple Lot that was designed by Joseph Smith in the year 1830.