Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again: The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and Presidential Library of West Branch, Iowa

Herbert Clark Hoover

President Hoover's boyhood home...

...and the family outhouse.

They're proud of Hoover in Iowa and for good reason...

...he's the only Iowan elected President. The Hoover site is located just minutes off of Interstate 80 in eastern Iowa.

The presidential library and museum (off-peak)

Hoover was a life-long fishing enthusiast...

...and was a dam good engineer,too.

A Hoover life mask from 1919.

Joyce Harken of Mount Vernon, Iowa made a quilt from t-shirts of 29 schools named after Herbert Hoover. Way to sew, Joyce!

Nobody writes headlines like Variety.

"I did not have sax with that woman": While we were at the Hoover museum, we were lucky enough to see a temporary exhibit featuring Bill Clinton's saxophone.

Presidential libraries and historic sites like Monticello and Mount Vernon always make for good roadside stops, but we at Eccentric Roadside favor the less, shall we say, showy commanders-in-chief. We've had the pleasure of visiting the Chester A. Arthur birthplace in Vermont and the James K. Polk homestead of North Carolina, but those places pale in comparison to the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and Presidential Library and Museum of West Branch, Iowa. There you'll find out all sorts of fascinating facts about America's 31st president. For instance, he never actually said "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." The Republican National Committee used that phrase in an ad and it stuck to him. It's also a misnomer that he did nothing when the Great Depression broke out. He enacted some programs and by 1932 the Depression was showing signs of improving, but the public blamed Hoover for not doing enough and Franklin Roosevelt defeated Hoover that year. Hoover also donated his salary while president to his fellow government workers whom he considered underpaid and to charity. On the same property as the library/museum, they've also got President Hoover's birth home (a small cottage, actually) complete with the family outhouse, a blacksmith shop, Quaker meeting house and President and Mrs. Hoover's graves. And there's a gift shop full of Hoover clothing, china, books, videos, jewelry and other Hooverabilia to remember your friends and loved ones by.

So, next time you're passing through eastern Iowa, don't live in a vacuum! Drop by the Hoover place. (Hoover? vacuum? That joke really sucks!)

No comments: