Friends Meetinghouse

Two doorways, one on either side, of a broad white wood frame building divides the sexes.

Friends Meetinghouse

NPS Photo by John Tobiason

 

Those acquainted with the Quaker faith, and who know the primitive furnishings of the Quaker meeting-house, the solemnity of the long hours of meeting awaiting the spirit to move someone, will know the intense repression upon a ten-year-old boy who might not even count his toes. All this may not have been in recreation, but it was strong training in patience.

Herbert Hoover

 

Herbert Hoover grew up in a religious community that valued peace, simplicity, integrity, and service to others. The plainly furnished Friends Meetinghouse, built by the Society of Friends, or Quakers, in 1857, is the physical expression of those values. Now two blocks from its original location, the Herbert Hoover Birthplace Foundation relocated and restored this meetinghouse in 1964.

 
Antique rocking chairs and cradles furnish a small room.

Elderly women sat with infants and young children in the cry room

NPS Photo by John Tobiason

 

Silent Waiting

Quakers held two meetings for worship each week. Men sat to the right of the partition, women to the left. The Quakers did not have a paid minister. They did not use music, symbols, or sacraments in their worship. Instead, they practiced "silent waiting," or worshipping in silence as they sat on the rows of long wooden benches.

If moved by the "inward light", a man or woman could stand and share their insights or prayers. Those known for their inspired messages, like Herbert's mother Hulda, became "recorded ministers" and sat on the facing benches with the elders.

 

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