Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover was born in 1874 in this small house in a Quaker community at West Branch, Iowa. He was the first president born west of the Mississippi.
The house has been preserved as part of the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, a one stop Hoover history park developed during his lifetime, principally by his wife, Lou.
It is now managed by the National Park Service, and has a visitor center full of displays.
Hoover’s father was a blacksmith, who died when he was 6. His mother died when he was 9. At 11 he was sent to live with his uncle in Newberg, Oregon. At 15 he started to work with his uncle at the Oregon Land Company, then went to Stanford, graduating in 1895 with a degree in geology.
Hoover became a surveyor and mining engineer, and spent many years overseas developing mines and industrial projects, especially for the government of China. By the time he was 40, he ran an international engineering consulting firm, and was a multimillionaire.
After serving as an international relief administrator during World War One, he got into politics, and was elected president in 1929, just in time for the stock market crash and the great depression.
Herbert Hoover left office after one term, and lived for another 30 years, dividing his time between the Waldorf Towers in New York City, and Palo Alto, California, where he and his wife lived in a house designed by Mrs. Hoover (which is now the home for the president of Stanford University).
Work on Hoover’s historic legacy park began with the restoration of his birthplace cottage in 1937. For years its owners, who had profited by showing thousands of people inside for ten cents a head, were resistant to sell it. It was finally acquired in 1935 by a friend of the Hoovers, who secretly bought it on their behalf. Herbert Hoover himself helped guide the restoration.
The cottage built by his father in 1871 had been altered and expanded by subsequent owners. Its restoration was not completed until 1941.
Nearby, a replica of his father’s blacksmith shop was constructed from scratch.
Hoover’s family moved out of the cabin when he was five years old, into a larger house a block away, which is no longer there. It was not reconstructed, but its place is marked.
The Quaker Meeting House he attended with his family was restored.
His presidential library and museum opened in 1962, on a spot chosen by Hoover, and he was there for the dedication, on his 88th birthday. The library is one of thirteen official presidential libraries that are managed by the National Archives.
Herbert Hoover died in 1964 at the age of 90, and is buried at the History Site, next to his wife Lou, at the place they had picked out.
It is on a small hill, within sight of his birthplace cabin.
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