Basaic West Branch/Herbert Hoover Page
"Herbert Hoover National Historic Site"
The small town of West Branch is best known, by the few who have heard of it, as the birthplace of the 31st President of the United States Herbert Hoover. The main photo for this page is the house he was born in.
Hoover was raised in a community dominated by the "Religious Society of Friends" also known as Quakers. This upbrining strongly influenced Hoover the rest of his life and caused him to adopt the principles of hard work, honesty, simplicity and genorosity.
"West Bank the Town"
There are several buildings in West Bank, not related to Hoover, that are of historical and architectural interest.
Herbert Hoover National Historic Site
Few Americans have known greater acclaim or more bitter criticism than Herbert Hoover. Born on August 10, 1874, Hoover was the son of a Quaker blacksmith, orphaned at an early age, and achieved international success as a mining engineer and world-wide gratitude as "The Great Humanitarian" who fed a billion people in 57 countries during and after World War I.
Within a few short months after being elected 31st President of the United States, in a 1928 landslide, the global hero had become a scapegoat in his own land. Even today, Hoover remains indelibly linked with the Great Depression that put millions of his countrymen out of work in the 1930's. Hoover's once bright reputation was put in shambles, yet he refused to fade away.
BIRTHPLACE OF AN UNCOMMON MAN FOR UNCOMMON TIMES
Ten miles east of the university town of Iowa City, just off I-80, is
the little town of West Branch. A little over 2100 people call this home.
Back in 1874, when Herbert Hoover was born, there were only
about 350 people living here. Hoover's father, Jesse, was a blacksmith who died when
Herbert was only six, forcing his mother, Hulda, to raise her three
children alone. Four years later, she died from complications escalating
from a common cold and the children were orphaned. Herbert lived for a
short time with an uncle on a nearby farm before, at age 11, being sent
to live with Hulda's brother, Dr Henry John Minthorn, and his family in
Newberg, Oregon where Minthorn was superintendent at the Friends Pacific Academy – a Quaker school, now George Fox University.
From these humble beginnings on the plains of Iowa, Herbert Hoover went on to a very long adventurous career taking him far beyond the little community of West Branch. Stanford University graduate (geology), mining engineer, millionaire by age 40 and then a forty year career in public service including one term as the 31st President of the United States from 1929-1932. He is the perfect example of a self-made man and it was from this little Iowan town where his journey began.
Also found here is the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum with archives and exhibits on the former President’s life. www.hoover.nara.gov