July 8, 2015

7/6/15 - Herbert Hoover NHS

It was raining h when we got to Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch, Iowa, but we figured we would be inside...mostly.  I should have realized that we'd be tromping around outside too, but it had mostly let up by the time we'd finished inside the Visitor Center.
The museum in the Visitor Center tells about his life when he was a little boy. They leave the political stuff to the folks at the Presidential Museum nearby.
There's a walking tour of the neighborhood Hoover lived in until he was 9.  Not all the buildings are open but a few have been restored and we could go inside. He was born in this two-room cottage in 1874 with his parents, brother and sister until his father built a bigger house about a block away. It's not there anymore.
His father worked in a blacksmith shop nearby.
Next door is the one-room schoolhouse. There's a big old stove in the back. The barrier wasn't there when the kids went to school there.
Across the creek is the Friends Meetinghouse. Two doors--men on one side, women on the other in this Quaker church. George said they could completely divide the rooms by sliding the top part of the window down and the bottom part up--you can see the handles. Weird, huh?
The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum had a very snotty lady at the ticket counter. Yes, they have a passport stamp. No, they wouldn't let George use it because it was ONLY for Presidential Library Passport books. (Attitude more than even her lousy customer service earned her mention here...) Interesting that no other Presidential Library made that distinction.
We wandered the exhibits in the museum with no particular regard to the suggested path on the map. I really didn't know much about Herbert Hoover beyond the dam in Nevada.
Things I learned (gotta keep learning to stay young!):
After his parents died when he was 9, he moved to Oregon to live with his uncle. He was a member of the Pioneer Class of Stanford University with a degree in geology and became a multi-millionaire mining engineer.
He was known as "The Great Humanitarian" who fed war-torn Europe during and after World War I, often at his own expense.
He was elected 31st President (I knew he was President; at one time I might even have known the number so this might be a refresher course) in a landslide--then blamed for the Great Depression. Not his fault, poor man.
He was again highly respected by the time he died in 1964 at the age of 90.

The children and citizens of Belgium gave Herbert Hoover this bronze statue of Isis, the Egyptian goddess of life in gratitude for his work on their behalf during and after WWI. Seems like an odd choice of subject to me, but I think there was a lot of interest in anything Egyptian in the early 20th century.
We had the "Belgium Relief Lunch" in the Belgium Village. It was soup similar to what they fed them during the war. Actually it was pretty good.
Click the link for more pictures:  Herbert Hoover Natl Historic Site

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