Herbert Hoover National Historic Site presents the two phases of Hoover's life -- his Quaker upbringing and his long public career -- in the setting of a late-nineteenth-century Iowa farm community.
©National Park Service
The Herbet Hoover National Historic Site gives visitors the feel of
a late-nineteenth-century Iowa farm community.
The site includes the small cottage built by Herbert's father Jesse in 1871. Herbert was born here in 1874, and the two-room dwelling, with its rope bed and feather tick, looks much as it did then. Some of the Hoovers' original furniture, including Herbert's childhood cradle, are on display.
Farther south on Downey Street is the larger home that the family moved into in 1879. Nearby is a blacksmith shop similar to the one operated by Hoover's father.
Hoover and his family worshiped at the Friends Meetinghouse. The building, completed in 1857, now sits about two blocks from its original site. Hoover's mother, Hulda, was a well-educated woman who often spoke before services. The Quaker principles of honesty, hard work, simplicity, and generosity that Hoover learned here helped guide him through the difficult years of his presidency.
Also included in the historic site is the one-story schoolhouse that the Friends, or Quakers, who settled the area built in 1853. Hoover's brother Theodore attended school here.
Hoover's father died when he was only six years old. Three years later, Hulda died of pneumonia, and Hoover eventually went to live with relatives in Oregon. As a young man, he traveled around the world as a mining engineer. He later headed a variety of relief efforts that helped feed a billion hungry people in more than 57 nations, earning him a reputation as a great humanitarian.
Herbert Hoover may be remembered by many as the President who couldn't raise the country out of the Great Depression, but his humanitarian efforts paved the way for the successful anti-Depression measures of the New Deal.
His administration is noted for many accomplishments, including reforms in criminal procedure in Federal courts, the creation of the Federal Power Commission, improvement of waterways, and the conservation of oil and other natural resources.
Herbert Hoover National Historic Site Information
Address: 110 Parkside Drive
West Branch, IA 52358
Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
Admission: $6 for adults; free for children under 16
Learn more about these other national historic sites:
- National Monuments: Learn more about America's national monuments.
- National Memorials: Discover national memorials in the U.S.
- National Historic Sites: Read about American national historic sites.
- Iowa State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Iowa as well as other recreational activities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.