This week the National Park Getaway takes readers to east central Iowa to visit the birthplace of the 31st president of the United States.

Ten miles east of Iowa City, Herbert Hoover National Historic Site tells the story of Hoover’s life and achievements, and how a small community opened a world of opportunity to a child of simple beginnings.

Visitors can tour the cottage where Hoover was born, a blacksmith shop, West Branch’s first one-room schoolhouse, and the Friends Meetinghouse where the Hoover family worshipped. Also located on the grounds are the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum, the gravesites of President and Mrs. Hoover and an 81-acre tallgrass prairie.

Herbert Hoover birth cottage

Herbert Hoover, the first President born west of the Mississippi River, was born in a small two-room cottage on August 10, 1874.

If you visit this summer, you’ll find plenty of activities designed to entertain. The park is hosting a summer concert series on Thursdays through June and family day camps throughout July. If you’re in the area, you won’t want to miss the annual Hoover’s Hometown Days festival, celebrated during the first weekend of August.

Recreational vehicle (RV) parking for the Visitor Center and Presidential Library and Museum is on Parkside Drive across the street from the Visitor Center. RVs may park also at the gravesite and picnic areas. Additional parking may be found on the streets of West Branch. All on-site facilities are within walking distance of the parking lots.

Designated parking spaces for persons with disabilities are available in all parking lots. Those spaces are reserved for vehicles which are properly marked with a disability parking permit, such as a license plate or government-issued hang-tag.

RV Parks and Campgrounds for overnight stays can be found in nearby Iowa City and Coralville.

Visit to learn about Herbert Hoover and the turbulent era of his presidency.

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