Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, Iowa

We took a day trip vacation to West Branch, Iowa to see the cabin where Herbert Hoover was born in 1874. It’s on its original site, and the National Park Service has restored and reconstructed several other homes and buildings to make the neighborhood look as it looked when Hoover lived there.

Herbert Hoover's birthplace

A blacksmith shop, owned by Hoover’s father, Jesse, is across the road (the brown building behind the evergreen). The town schoolhouse (the white building on the left) is nearby, and the Friends Meetinghouse where Hoover attended as a child is on the other side of the creek. The building is divided in half to separate men and women. (The name West Branch came from the branch of the Friends, or Quakers, who settled here.)

The cottage is tiny, only 14 by 20 feet. It consists of a small bedroom where all five Hoovers slept, a small living/dining room and a closet-sized kitchen that is entered from the back porch.

After wandering through the neighborhood, we made a quick swing through the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. It was very well done, but the girls weren’t terribly interested and it was, after all, a family vacation. We also took a look at the graves of Hoover and his wife Lou before enjoying our picnic lunch. It was a beautiful day in the low 80’s, but it was hot enough to melt our Hostess cupcakes.

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