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.