Saturday, October 22, 2016

On the Road Again (Herbert Hoover National Historic Site)

While mapping out the trip to Mount Rushmore, I discovered that the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and Presidential Library and Museum were just off I-80, in West Branch, Iowa.

Herbert Hoover

The rustic 81-acre site takes one back to a Midwestern farming community in the late 19th century, with restored buildings on a tallgrass prairie and a creek that meanders across the property. 

Birthplace cottage

Hoover, the 31st president, was born Aug. 10, 1874, in West Branch. His parents, who were Quakers, both died when Herbert was a child, and he was raised for a while by an aunt and uncle on a farm in West Branch before going to Newberg, Ore., to live with the family of his mother's brother, Dr. Henry Minthorn.

Hoover graduated with a degree in geology from Stanford University, the first graduating class, in 1895. It was there he met his wife, Lou Henry, who was also from Iowa, and also earned a degree in geology.

You can read more about the life and times of Hoover, who served as president from 1929 until 1933 here. Unfortunately, for Hoover, many people remember him as president during the economic collapse that brought on the Great Depression.
National Historic Site Visitors Center

The historic site includes the two-room birthplace cottage, schoolhouse, Friends meetinghouse, and presidential library and museum. The visitors center contains exhibits, bookstore, and video about Hoover's life.

Statue of Isis 
The only statue on the grounds is of Isis, the Egyptian goddess of life, given to Hoover by the citizens for Belgium for his humanitarian work for that country as well as other European nations during and after World War I.  He was known as "The Great Humanitarian" for his efforts. He lived a life of service after leaving the White House.

Grave site of Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover
The grave sites of Herbert, who died in 1964, and Lou Henry, who passed away in 1944, are unpretentious, keeping with the Quaker tradition of simplicity. I found the entire site to be modest and respectful to a former leader.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
The national historic site is free; a peaceful setting off the highway to walk the grounds of another time in our nation's history. There is an admission charge to the presidential library and museum

Here's quote from Herbert Hoover that I find inspiring, reflects on his early life in Iowa, and the eternal hope that America should offer to everyone:

"My country owes me no debt. It gave me, as it gives every boy and girl, a chance. It gave me schooling, independence of action, opportunity for service and honor. In no other land could a boy from a country village, without inheritance or influential friends, look forward with unbounded hope."

More images of the Hoover National Historic Site can be seen on my Facebook page by clicking here.

Until the next time....

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