Independence was and is home to some of this country’s most accomplished people.
Harry Ford Sinclair, the founder of Sinclair Oil, grew up here. Sinclair tried his hand as a pharmacist and failed twice. Then he resorted to selling lumber to oil derricks and started dealing in oil leases on the side. His uncanny ability to sniff out producing land made him a millionaire before he was 30 years old. He was named the richest man in Kansas in 1907.
Cobalt Boats launched in Independence in 1968 with an idea to make the best boat on the water.
Cessna Aircraft Company broke ground on its manufacturing plant site in Independence in 1995. The company delivered its 9,000th single-engine piston a dozen years ago and continues to produce today.
Since 2004, Cessna's newest business division has assembled the Citation Mustang jet in Independence.
Author Laura Ingalls Wilder introduced millions of fans to Independence in her nine-book series depicting growing up here in the 1870s. Little House on the Prairie Museum stands on the original land where Wilder and her family lived in a one-room cottage. Wilder’s books inspired the award-winning TV series airing from 1974 to 1982 and three movies.
Other home-grown Independence celebrities include:
And then there’s the non-human celeb. Miss Able, a rhesus macaque, born at the Independence Ralph Mitchell Zoo was hand-picked by NASA to be one of first monkeys to enter space, returning to earth on May 28, 1959.