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William Inge was born in Independence on May 3, 1913.  He was the second son of Luther Clay Inge and Maude Sarah Gibson-Inge and the youngest of five children. His boyhood home at 514 N. 4th Street in Independence still stands.  His siblings were Lucy, Luther Jr., Irene (died at 3 years of age), and Helene. His father was a traveling salesman and Inge had a close relationship with his mother.
Independence, Kansas in the 1920ís was a wealthy white-collar town and the home of Alf Landon, Harry Sinclair, and Martin Johnson. Until the depression, Independence was said to have had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the country. His Kansas boyhood is reflected in many of his works.
Ingeís fascination for the theatre began early. In the 1920ís Independence had many cultural events as top artists and shows stopped over for one night stands between performances in Kansas City, Missouri, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Although Inge was not from a well-to-do family, he did get to see many shows as a member of a local Boy Scout Troop. The troop met in the Civic Center, a ground floor meeting room of Memorial Hall, a large 2,000 seat theater where these shows were held. The scouts were regularly invited to sit in the balcony after their meetings to watch the performances.
Independence, Kansas