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

    Herbert Hoover

    National Historic Site Iowa

Jesse Hoover

Oval-cropped black-and-white portrait photograph of a young dark-haired man with a long beard.

Jesse Hoover

Herbert Hoover NHS Collection

Jesse Clark Hoover came to West Branch from Ohio when he was eight years old with his father, Eli, in 1854. Jesse married Hulda Minthorn in 1870, and had three children: Theodore, Herbert, and Mary.

Jesse built his Blacksmith Shop at the corner of Downey and Penn streets in 1871. Jesse Hoover was one of three blacksmiths in a town of 500. West Branch was a farming community, and many of its residents had horses, buggies, and wagons that needed repaired. In 1877, Jesse advertised in the West Branch Times: "Horse shoeing and plow work a specialty. Also dealer in all kinds of pumps. Prices to suit the times."

In 1879, Jesse sold the Blacksmith Shop and started a new farm implement business on the corner of Downey and Main streets. The new shop was the first in town to manufacture barbed wire.

On December 13, 1880, Jesse Hoover died of a heart attack brought on by pneumonia. He was only 34 years old. He is buried next to Hulda in the West Branch Municipal Cemetery on North Maple Street.

Did You Know?

Hoover's birthplace as it appeared before restoration: a two-story white frame house.

Herbert Hoover's birthplace was a tourist attraction as early as 1928. Jennie Scellers, the house's owner, charged 10 cents for tours and set up a souvenir stand on her lawn. More...