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Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, West Branch

4.7
#7 of 66 in Historic Sites in Iowa
Historic Site · Tourist Spot
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The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site is a unit of the National Park System in West Branch, Iowa, United States. The buildings and grounds are managed by the National Park Service to commemorate the life of Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States. The park was established in 1965, shortly after it was named a National Historic Landmark. It now encompasses 186.8 acres (75.6 ha).

Hoover spent the first eleven years of his life in West Branch. The son of a blacksmith who practiced close to the town, Hoover was born in a small cottage in 1874. The family later moved nearby to the "House of the Maples", a two-story house. Within the next few years, Hoover was orphaned and left West Branch to live with relatives in Oregon. Hoover would go on to become a successful mining engineer, humanitarian, and President of the United States.

The birthplace cottage fell into private hands and became a tourist destination following Hoover's nomination to the presidency in 1928. After the Hoover family acquired the cottage in the 1930s, they worked to develop a park aimed at recreating Hoover's formative childhood experience. Among the buildings that now stand in the park are a blacksmith shop similar to the one owned by his father, the first West Branch schoolhouse, and the Quaker meetinghouse where the Hoover family worshiped. In the 1960s, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum first opened to maintain Hoover's presidential papers and memorabilia. Herbert and his wife, First Lady Lou Henry Hoover, are buried under a monument designed by William Wagner. After the death of Herbert Hoover, an 81-acre (33 ha) tallgrass prairie was developed.
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Herbert Hoover National Historic Site reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
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Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • The movie at the visitor center was very helpful before you walk around the grounds. There was a lot to see and learn about this president. The park rangers are so nice. The town looked so pleasant. 
    The movie at the visitor center was very helpful before you walk around the grounds. There was a lot to see and learn about this president. The park rangers are so nice. The town looked so pleasant.  more »
  • Beautiful area and neighboring homes still reflect the style and architecture of Hoover's time. Good information is in the visitor's center. The short film allows the visitor to get a sense of who.....  more
    Beautiful area and neighboring homes still reflect the style and architecture of Hoover's time. Good information is in the visitor's center. The short film allows the visitor to get a sense of who.....  more »
Google
  • I didn't know much about, Mr. Hoover...but now I do! Very cool place to visit! You get to see the small town he lived in, including his home, old school house, & an active blacksmith shop! The staff was amazing! Chelsea, was very informative on what it takes, being a blacksmith! This is a must visit, for any fan of American history! Very cool! The video in the welcome center was very informative! Here's some of my pics!
  • Historic site for the USA. The birthplace and first years of President Hoover's life. Everything around is neat and tidy thanks to the work of the National Park Service rangers. So if you are on the I-80, I recommend you get off the highway and take your time to visit this place. It's worth it.

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