With more than 110,000 residents, Independence is the fourth-largest city in Missouri. It maintains great significance in U.S. history, being the starting point for pioneers heading west on the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe Trails. For this reason, Independence is known as the "Queen City of the Trails." It was also home to the nation's 33rd president, Harry S. Truman, both before and after he held office.
The city of Independence has developed neighborhood and housing programs and policies with the purpose of sustaining and revitalizing communities in the city. These programs help to develop neighborhood organizations and promote neighborhood safety, community, and beautification.
Independence has several neighborhoods with a broad range of housing options. Englewood and Fairmount have older homes and, therefore, tend to be less expensive than newer communities, such as Selsa or along Route Seven and Strobe Road. Individuals looking for an area somewhere in the middle might consider the neighborhoods of East Independence or Ribley.
The founder of the Mormon faith, Joseph Smith, pronounced that "Zion" was located in Independence, Missouri. He and approximately 2,000 of his followers relocated to Independence from Ohio in the 1830s. While their belief system saw them banished from the area by 1833, Independence has remained a central location to their faith. It is now home to the headquarters of seven Latter-day Saints groups. The Mormon Visitors Center provides information and displays about the role Mormons played in the history of Independence, as well as information regarding the truth and fables surrounding the development of the Mormon Church and the denominations that branched from it.
Agriculture and manufacturing are both major industries in Independence. The city's manufactures produce machinery, building materials, apparel, foods, paper products, and military supplies. Soybeans, corn, and sorghum are grown, and there is also local dairy and natural-gas production.
Among the largest employers in the area are:
A large number of residents also commute into the nearby metropolitan area of Kansas City for employment.
During the Civil War, three battles were fought in Independence: the First Battle of Independence, the Second Battle of Independence, and the Battle of Little Blue River. The battles are memorialized in Historic Independence Square. Other area attractions include:
The local newspaper is the Independence Examiner. Residents also enjoy reading the Kansas City Star, which is distributed within Kansas City and all surrounding suburbs. The majority of television and radio stations received in Independence are broadcast from Kansas City and other neighboring cities, with the exception of KSMO, channel 62, which is an affiliate of My Network TV.