3-Trails Corridor

Independence Courthouse Square

Independence Square has been a hub for travelers since it was platted in 1827. In its early days, mercantile stores, hotels, banks, blacksmith shops, and, yes, saloons predominated this nucleus of commerce that outfitted westward travelers who funneled from across the eastern United States to this very Square, then “jumped off” into the Great American Desert. Though it has evolved over time, the Courthouse Square maintains its charm and the moniker building in the middle has connections to U.S. President Harry S Truman, and contains remnants of earlier courthouse structures dating to 1836.
Thanks to: David W. Jackson

Independence Courthouse Square

click address to open in map

History

The buildings surrounding the historic Courthouse Square have evolved in the last 175+ years and remain vibrant for modern-day travelers as they did for 19th century overlanders. The oldest building is the 1859 Jackson County Jail (217 North Main Street; renamed the 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home and Museum in 1959), and the newest redevelopment is from the 1980s. Daily, guided tours of the courthouse are available; historical monuments dot the courtyard and commemorate the trails that funneled through the Square; and, a souvenir history/tour book is available. The courthouse contains remnants of five previous building incarnations including the original nucleus—the first, permanent, brick courthouse on the Square—built in 1836. The present edifice and facade dates to the 1933 remodeling and expansion overseen by Harry S Truman when he was a county ‘commissioner.’ The Recorder of Deeds and Historical Society within preserve deeds and court documents that occasionally mention the trails that involved traders' and merchants' delinquent debts, saloon shootouts, and broken contracts. Imagine thousands of wagon caravans converging and encircling Independence Courthouse Square each spring from all points east before heading on any one of the City’s south or westerly streets.
Thanks to: David W. Jackson