Early Interest in Geology
By 1874, five railroads had spread across the Iowa countryside. Distant farms and small towns were now connected by miles of timber and track, bringing with it new jobs, new products, and new markets for harvests and livestock. For a curious and enterprising Bertie Hoover, the railroad tracks east of Downey Street brought something else: a fascination with geology.
In his memoirs, published in 1951, Herbert Hoover wrote:
The railroad no longer rumbles through West Branch, but a few of those semi-precious rocks may still be found along the tracks that once inspired and encouraged the dreams of a future president.