Place

Schoolhouse

A one-story wooden building painted off-white has two windows and a central doorway.
Many rural Midwestern towns like West Branch placed a high value on education.

NPS Photo/John Tobiason

Quick Facts

Audio Description, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Wheelchair Accessible

"Iowa in those years was filled with days of school, and who does not remember with a glow, some gentle woman, who with infinite patience and kindness, drilled into us those foundations of all we know today."

Herbert Hoover

Emphasis on Education

By 1853, enough people lived in West Branch to build and support a public school. Hard work was a core value of the Quaker townsfolk, but so too was education-for both boys and girls. Herbert Hoover's own mother, Hulda had been a teacher in neighboring Muscatine County before she married. Because the Society of Friends raised much of the money for the construction of this one-room schoolhouse, it was also used as the town's first Quaker meetinghouse.

The Growing School

In 1869, after the town built a larger schoolhouse, this building was used as a classroom for the primary department, or youngest grades. Herbert Hoover entered public school in 1880 at age 5 and spent three years in the primary department. It is unknown if Hoover's class met in this building.

Pursuit of Higher Education

The value the Hoovers' placed on education paid off in 1891. 17-year old Bert Hoover enrolled at Stanford University, determined to become a mining engineer.

Last updated: November 7, 2021