219 North Delaware Street Virtually!


George and Elizabeth E. Gates Welcome You To Their Home

George Porterfield Gates, circa 1880 George Porterfield Gates, circa 1880

Left image
George Porterfield Gates, circa 1880
Credit: Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

Right image
Elizabeth Emery Gates, circa 1905
Credit: Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

What we today call the Truman Home was actually built by Bess Wallace Truman's maternal grandparents, George Porterfield Gates and his wife, Elizabeth. Mr. Gates was originally from Vermont, and Mrs. Gates was originally from Great Britain.

George Gates was a partner in a flour mill in Independence, Missouri, a mill that produced many fine products, including the "Queen of the Pantry" flour, known as one of the best in the Midwest.

The original part of the house may date from 1867. With the income from the mill, Mr. Gates enlarged the house to its current appearance in 1885. It was one of the stateliest homes in Independence. It still is.

George Gates died in 1918, and his wife died in 1924. At that time, their daughter, Mrs. Madge Gates Wallace, bought 219 North Delaware Street from her parents' estate. Among those living in 219 North Delaware Street were her daughter, Bess Wallace Truman and her husband Harry. Bess Truman's brother Fred called 219 North Delaware home for many years too. Two other brothers, Frank and George, lived in charming bungalows behind 219.

It truly was all in the family.


219 North Delaware Street...Then...and Now

Truman Home circa 1900 large Victorian House Truman Home circa 1900 large Victorian House

Top image
Truman Home circa 1900 (known then as the Gates house)
Credit: Truman Library

Bottom image
Truman Home today
Credit: NPS

It was once the home of a prominent Independence, Missouri, mill partner. At one time four generations of a family lived there. From 1945 to 1953, it had perhaps the second most famous address in the United States. Some called it the "Summer White House" during those years.

In 1953 a former President of the United States and his First Lady returned here to spend the rest of their lives.

But it was always more than a house. It was a home...for the Gates family, for the Wallace family, for the Truman family.

Now it's your home.


Open Transcript 


No audio. Silent film.

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3 minutes, 7 seconds

This black and white silent film shows photographs of the second floor of the Truman Home, using photographs taken shortly after the death of First Lady Bess Wallace Truman. The photographs were taken as part of the National Park Service's "Historic American Building Survey" project.

"During the life of my daughter, the area above the first floor of my residence shall not be available to the public." --Bess Truman
Harry and Bess Truman's second floor bedroom.
Harry and Bess Truman's second floor bedroom.

HABS Photo, Jack E. Boucher

When Bess Truman passed away in 1982, her will left her home in Independence to the United States of America, with one important stipulation. Mrs. Truman wrote, "During the life of my daughter, the area above the first floor of my residence shall not be available to the public."

Mrs. Truman enjoyed her privacy, rarely inviting visitors into the private areas of her home. To ensure her daughter's privacy, Bess wrote into her Will, permission for Margaret to use the second floor for one week per year. While Margaret never stayed in the home after her parents' deaths, the National Park Service upheld the conditions of the Will.

Margaret Truman Daniel passed away on January 29, 2008. While Bess Truman's concern for her daughter's privacy is no longer an issue, preservation of the President's home is a paramount concern and the upstairs of the Truman home will remain closed to the public.

Images of the second floor rooms can now be viewed in the image gallery below.


Last updated: February 28, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

223 North Main Street (Visitor Center/ Truman Home Ticketing Station)
Independence, MO 64050


The park is open to the public Wednesdays-Sundays. The park is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Administrative staff work Monday-Friday. For Administration staff, please call (816) 254-2720, Mondays to Fridays, 8AM-4PM. All times central. (We like to call it Truman Time.)

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