Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Birthplace of Harry S. Truman

Lamar, Missouri

A State Historic Site operated and maintained by the Division of Parks and Recreation, State of Missouri. (In Lamar, 2 miles east of U.S. 71, one block off Hwy 160 in Barton County)

The corner lot, 80 by 150 feet, where the birthplace is located, was purchased by a Simon Blethrode in October of 1880 for $78.20. Mr. Blethrode then either built the home or had it built. He sold the property to John A. Truman, Harry Truman's father, for $685.00 on November 14, 1882.

The small, white, frame house, 20 by 28 feet, has six rooms - four downstairs and two upstairs. When it was occupied by the Trumans, the home had no electricity, basement, running water, storage attic, clothes closets or bathroom. Beside the house is a woodshed, or smokehouse, and a hand-dug, 36-foot deep cistern. In the back is a privy.

President Truman was born in the downstairs, southwest bedroom of the house on May 8, 1884. This room measures only 6 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 9 inches.

Lamar is in southwest Missouri in Barton County. During the time the Truman family lived in Lamar, the father bought and sold livestock, primarily horses and mules. He conducted his livestock business from a lot, purchased in March of 1883 for $200, located diagonally (southeast) across the street from the Birthplace.

After living there for two years and four months, the Trumans sold the home along with the stocklot on March 3rd, 1885, for $1600 and moved to Harrisonville, Missouri. At this time Harry Truman was 10 months old. From Harrisonville, the family moved to Belton, then to Grandview and finally settled in Independence, Missouri in 1890 when President Truman was 6 years old. He lived in the Independence, Kansas City and Grandview area until he passed away December 26th, 1972, at the age of 88 years.

The birthplace of Harry S. Truman in Lamar, Missouri and the property on which it stands were purchased by the United Auto Workers of America in 1957, and given to the people of Missouri. The home has been restored and redecorated to the period of its ownership and occupancy by the Truman family. Research led to the decision to remove a front porch that had been added after the Trumans had moved and also a small summer kitchen that had been added just outside what had been the rear door. The roof was recovered with wooden shingles of the type used during the period of the Truman ownership. After the Home was restored and redecorated it was furnished with furniture of the type used in modest homes in the 1880s. Guided tours are available free.

President Truman was the oldest of three children who survived infancy, the only one of the three who was born at Lamar. His brother, John Vivian, was born April 25, 1885, at Belton, Missouri and his sister, Mary Jane, was born August 12, 1889, at Grandview, Missouri.

Harry Truman drew the largest crowd in Barton County's history when he returned to Lamar on August 31, 1944, to deliver his Vice-Presidential nomination acceptance speech at the west entrance of the County Courthouse.

The last time Mr. Truman visited his birthplace was on April 19th, 1959, the day the site was dedicated and officially opened to the public.

For specific information about this Historic Site please write to:

Historical Administrator
Harry S. Truman Birthplace
Lamar, Missouri 64759
(417) 682-2279