Few Americans have known greater acclaim or more bitter criticism than Herbert Hoover. Born on August 10, 1874, Hoover was the son of a Quaker blacksmith, orphaned at an early age, and achieved international success as a mining engineer and world-wide gratitude as "The Great Humanitarian" who fed a billion people in 57 countries during and after World War I.
Within a few short months after being elected 31st President of the United States, in a 1928 landslide, the global hero had become a scapegoat in his own land. Even today, Hoover remains indelibly linked with the Great Depression that put millions of his countrymen out of work in the 1930's. Hoover's once bright reputation was put in shambles, yet he refused to fade away.
By the time of his death in October, 1964, Hoover had regained much of the luster once attached to his name. The Quaker theologian who eulogized him at his funeral did not exaggerate when he said of Herbert Hoover, "The story is a good one and a great one...It is essentially triumphant."
Herbert Hoover National Historic Site was established to commemorate the life of this uncommon person. The Historic Site contains the cottage where Hoover was born, a blacksmith shop similar to the one owned by his father, West Branch's first one room schoolhouse, the Friends Meetinghouse where the Hoover Family worshipped, and several homes of the era. Also located on the grounds are the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum, the Hoover Presidential Library Association, the gravesites of the President and Mrs. Hoover, and an 81-acre tallgrass prairie.