Historic Homes on Downey Street
West Branch boomed between 1869 and 1873. New buildings constructed in the neighborhood near the Hoovers’ small cottage on Downey Street included the Laban Miles House, the Garvin House, and the Methodist Church, which is no longer standing. When the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad arrived in West Branch on December 20, 1870, two hundred of the town’s residents celebrated with a picnic dinner.
You might be surprised to learn that Herbert Hoover didn’t live in one of these larger, fancier-looking homes, even though they were built during the same time period. By comparison, his single story home measured only 14 feet by 20 feet in size. Although you will get the opportunity to go inside the cottage where America’s 31st President was born, the homes here on Downey Street are not open to the public and are used as offices.
Did You Know?
In 1874, the year Herbert Hoover was born, Ernest Shackleton (an early Antarctic explorer), Honus Wagner (one of the greatest baseball players in history), Harry Houdini (a famous professional magician), and Robert Frost (Pulitzer Prize winning poet) were also born. More...