The Hoover Houses and Community Structures
Historic Structures Report
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This report has been prepared to satisfy the research needs as enumerated in Historical Resource Study Proposals, HEHO-H-8, Historic Structure Report, Hoover Cottage; HEHO-H-9, Historic Structure Report, Friends Meeting House and Outbuildings; HEHO-H-10, Historic Structure Report, West Branch Schoolhouse; HEHO-H-11, Historic Structure Report, West Branch Bandstand; HEHO-H-12, Historic Structure Report, Second Hoover House; and HEHO-H-13, Historic Structure Report, Downey Street Bridges. To avoid needless repetition in the future, sections have been included in the Historic Structures Reports pertaining to the Hoover Cottage and Friends Meeting House satisfying the requirements of Parts C and D of Furnishing Plans for these buildings. This report also contains the Administrative History of the Birthplace Cottage before the establishment of the park, to satisfy the needs outlined in PSP-H-5, Administrative History of Herbert Hoover National Historic Site.

All available documentary material and historic photographs of the subject structures have been collected, studied, synthetized, and evaluated to provide restoration architects with a document to assist them in preparing measured drawings to be used in reconstructing the Second Hoover House, the Downey Street bridges, the West Branch Bandstand, and certain outbuildings and fences. Detailed structural histories of the restored Hoover Cottage and Friends Meeting House provide information and data useful in management, interpretation, and maintenance of these historically significant buildings. Information compiled on the West Branch School will be useful in interpreting the structure and its role in the community. Sections of the Hoover Cottage and Friends Meeting House Chapters will constitute part of the Furnishing Plans for these structures.

Many persons have assisted in the preparation of this report. Particular thanks are due: former Superintendent Randy Pope, Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management Wallace Elms, Administrative Assistant Judy Maske, Clerk-typist Vivian Kaefring, Historian Robert Nash, Park Technician Al Estall, and Superintendent David L. Hieb of Herbert Hoover National Historic Site for their assistance in and around West Branch; Director Thomas T. Thalken, Assistant Director Robert R. Wood, Librarian Ruth Dennis, Senior Archivist Dwight Miller, and Audiovisual Archivist J. Patrick Wildenberg of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library for their cooperation in making available valuable source materials entrusted to their safe keeping.

As heretofore residents and former residents of West Branch extended themselves to make me welcome and share their source materials, recollections, and photographs. Mrs. Golda Gruwell, Mrs. Lucille Vincent, Mrs. John Kofron, Mrs. Ona Morris, Mrs. Mildred Speight, Ross Sayles, Al Estall, Glenn Brown, L. C. Rummells, Sig Larsen, and Bill Wagner are to be thanked for permitting me to copy and use invaluable photographs of the structures covered in this report and their immediate environment. Mrs. Mildred Speight, Mrs. Golda Gruwell, Mrs. Malissa R. Fawcett, Glenn Brown, Ross Sayles, L. C. Rummells, Bill Anderson, Floyd Fawcett, Mr. and Mrs. Al Estall, and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Wilhelm shared their recollections of the structures.

Don Wehrman of the Springdale Mutual Fire Insurance Company permitted me to examine the records of his company; Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hansen opened the archives of the West Branch Friends Church; Mrs. Ruth Kessler of Oskaloosa made the records of the Springdale and West Branch Preparative Meetings available; the Records of the West Branch Town Council were made available by Mayor Minard Thomas; while the Superintendent of the West Branch Independent School District opened his files for the 1870s and 80s. Editor Jack Maher of the West Branch Times supported my efforts by publicizing my search for early West Branch photographs.

Historical Architects Henry Judd of the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, Charles Lessig of the Midwest Regional Office, and Frank Gerner of the Denver Service Center were helpful in making suggestions as to what was of interest to the Restoration Architects, in studying paint samples, and reading the fabric of the extant structures. Architect William Wagner of Wagner and Marquart shared with me the encyclopedic knowledge acquired in the years since 1956, when he became architect for the Herbert Hoover Birthplace Foundation. My colleagues Dave Clary and Bob Nash read the manuscript, and made valuable suggestions, while Mrs. Judy Sprouse skillfully typed the subject manuscript.

Edwin C. Bearss

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Last Updated: 28-Jul-2006