• Pink flowers blossom in the garden of a white two-room cottage.

    Herbert Hoover

    National Historic Site Iowa

Historic Homes on Downey Street

Grass, boardwalks, picket fences and historic homes line a historic street.

Historic homes along Downey Street contribute to the neighborhood-like setting around Herbert Hoover's birthplace.

Linda Staats

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.



Take a Virtual Tour

This is a stop on the virtual tour of Herbert Hoover National Historic Site.

« Blacksmith Shop | Methodist Church and C.E. Smith House »

Did You Know?

Black and white photo of Herbert Hoover in retirement.

In Herbert Hoover’s 31-year retirement from the presidency he never had any Secret Service protection. Not until 1965, one year after Hoover died, was lifetime Secret Service protection awarded to ex-presidents. More...