• An open vista frames two white grave stone and a flag in the distance with a white cottage in the foreground.

    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.

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Did You Know?

Rows of wooden pupils' desks.

The West Branch Schoolhouse was built in 1853 making it the oldest building at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. The town's Quakers also used the one-room building as their first meetinghouse. More...