West Branch Commercial Historic District

The red awning on green wooden store matches it red and cream trim.
The Gruwell-Crew Building, home to the West Branch Heritage Museum, is one of the attractive historic buildings in downtown West Branch.

NPS Photo


When Herbert Hoover was born in 1874, West Branch was beginning a long period of growth and general prosperity that lasted through the early part of the 20th century.


A Bustling Commercial Center

Just a few blocks from Hoover’s Birthplace Cottage, the West Branch Commercial Historic District, located along Main and Downey streets, features many fine examples of turn-of-the-century buildings that housed the businesses of this thriving farming community: banks, doctor’s offices, a hotel, a barber shop, a drug store, a millinery shop and a music store among others. While most of these buildings built after Herbert Hoover left Iowa, together they illustrate the evolution of downtown West Branch— between 1875 and 1916— from a collection of ramshackle wooden storefronts into a bustling commercial center anchored by blocks of ornate brick buildings.

A stroll down Main Street discovers the notable places built by the hands of hardworking craftsmen. Fifteen of the sixteen structures considered worthy of preservation and listed on the National Register of Historic Places remain. That designation was the result of a proud community’s recognition of West Branch’s place in history and a tireless effort to preserve their past.


National Register Of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation. The National Register is administered by the National Park Service. The National Register is one of several ways the National Park Service works with communities for historic preservation, land and water conservation, and outdoor recreation.

Last updated: April 28, 2018

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 607
West Branch, IA 52358


(319) 643-2541

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