A painting depicts a boxy yellow two story house.
The Mackey House was home to a West Branch mayor

"The Mackey House" by Heather Heckel

Quick Facts

Location:
West Branch, Iowa
Significance:
Part of Herbert Hoover National Historic Site
OPEN TO PUBLIC:
No

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.

Last updated: November 17, 2018