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

    Herbert Hoover

    National Historic Site Iowa

Mackey House

A yellow two story house with a white picket fence.

The Mackey House was home to a West Branch mayor.

NPS Photo

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.



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?

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...