In 1869, after subdividing his recently purchased five-acre real estate investment, John Wetherell sold two of the lots to David Mackey for $50 each. The Mackey house is one of the oldest homes in the historic core of West Branch. This cheerful yellow wood framed home would have been a familiar landmark to the young Herbert "Bertie" Hoover while growing up.
Mackey designed and built this humble two-story house with a gable roof and a red brick chimney. Just a few years after construction was complete, his wife Mary died, leaving the carpenter with a baby son named Charles. Soon after, Mackey's sister, Martha moved in to help take care of the child.
The young widower, one of the town's few Democrats, was surprisingly elected the Mayor of West Branch in 1879. Of the homes in the core area dating back to Hoover's boyhood, this house and the Wright House, across the street, have been the least altered in appearance.
Did You Know?
General Land Office surveyors who first came to Iowa commented that the territory was fit only for waterfowl. Eighty-five percent of Iowa used to be soggy tallgrass prairie. More...