I can’t think of another piece of landscape of similar size where so many things have happened that have been of significance in the story of America.
— David McCullough Pulitzer Prize winning historian and Harry S Truman biographer

From the JCHS Executive Director


Like many other historical organizations, the Jackson County Historical Society has begun the long process of digitizing our vast archival holdings.

Currently, staff and volunteers are working on scanning the large photograph collection that contains over 25,000 images.

Photographs are the number one requested item to view in our archive center which is one reason we chose to start there. 

JCHS Administrative Offices


JCHS Acquires Major Regional Photographic Collection

In July, JCHS formally announced it had acquired a regional photographic collection from Chris Wilborn.

The photographs go back to the early 1900s and may include over 500,000, if not more, images.

“I kept everything,” Chris Wilborn said in a newspaper article about the acquisition. “My dad kept all the negatives he shot.”

JCHS plans to scan the photographic negatives and eventually make them available online.

“The end goal is all online through JCHS,” said Executive Director Steve Noll who helped arrange the acquisition.

Learn more about the Wilborn collection.

JCHS helps publish new book about Paul Henning the creator of The Beverly Hillbillies

The Jackson County Historical Society has been instrumental in the publication of a new memoir about Paul Henning - the Kansas City-area native who was the creator of the Beverly Hillbillies.


The 280-page page, The First Beverly Hillbilly: The Untold Story of the Creator of Rural TV Comedy is based on an unpublished manuscript by Henning's wife Ruth which was found in our archives.

The book shares Henning’s amazing life - working in early Kansas City radio, writing for celebrities and creating the widely popular television shows Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres.

"Hands-down the funniest book video and the sweetest homage to a local creative talent that you will ever see." SCROLL DOWN TO READ DETAILS "Half LA LA LAND and half CARPOOL KARAOKE-Kansas City Style."

 Books are available for purchase at the Jackson County Historical Society bookshop in the Truman Courthouse or online at a special website for this project.

The manuscript, completed in 1994 was never published, but later was found in the Jackson County Historical Society archives among the papers of local historian and journalist Sue Gentry and a friend of the Hennings.

The book is a cooperative publishing project between the Woodneath Press, an imprint of the Mid-Continent Public Library and the Jackson County Historical Society.

JCHS finds 1947 Santa Cali Gon video

The Jackson County Historical Society recently posted a 1947 home video made of the the second-ever Santa Cali Gon festival held.

The Independence community festival celebrates the community's role in outfitting those leaving for the West along the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails.

The video was featured in a story in The Examiner and there is more information on Santa Cali Gon our website including a copy of the 1940 program for the first festival.

The 17-minute video is being edited by local filmmaker Jefferson to promote this year's festival held over Labor Day.

Check out our Santa Cali Gon page.