Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hoover NHS, Library and Museum - RV Repair

We moved only 125 miles from Des Moines to Linden Point COE Park in Iowa City that was only $13.00 for a full hookup site using the senior pass. We were here to visit the Herbert Hoover sites in nearby West Branch. It was also only fifty miles from Lasso E RV where we had an appointment the morning we were leaving to have the slide repaired. 
West Branch is the birthplace of the 31st president, Herbert Hoover, on August 10, 1874. There is a National Historic Site and a Presidential Library and Museum on the grounds. The small home that Hoover was born in was built by his father and consisted of two rooms and a path.
His father owned a blacksmith shop like this one. He later started a successful farm implement business and built a larger home for the family. That house is no longer there. By the time Herbert was ten both his parents had died. After living with an aunt and uncle in West Branch for a while he was sent to another relative in Oregon.
The one room schoolhouse where Hoover attended school until he was eleven. 
The Hoover family were Quakers and attended this meeting house. At Quaker meetings there was no preacher and everyone sat in silent thought until someone who had an insight or spiritual message would stand and speak to the congregation. Hoover later said, "The long hours of meeting awaiting the spirit to move someone may not have been recreation, but it was strong training in patience." 
Part of the site is an 81-acre tallgrass prairie that has been restored to what first settlers in Iowa would have found. This fertile land would have been farmland by the time Hoover was born. 
I can say, most of what I knew about Herbert Hoover was that he was the president when the Great Depression started. The library tells the story of a man who after graduating from the first class at Stanford University became the most successful mining engineer in the world. This success gave him world recognition and his wealth allowed him to become a great humanitarian. 
There was a special exhibit about all the presidents. The only photos allowed were cutouts at the entrance. They have one of the current occupant of the White House but we opted for Abe and Hoover.
The museum traces Herbert Hoover's life from his early years in Iowa through his successful career, to a life of public service and a long retirement of more service.
Hoover was the youngest member of his 1895 graduating class so he grew a moustache and bought this suit and top hat to look older when he applied for his first job.  Left is Lou who became his wife in 1899. She was an Iowa born girl and also graduated from Stanford.
After working successfully in the gold fields of California, he joined a British firm and moved to Australia in 1897 as a mining engineer.
After getting married, the Hoovers went to China where in 1900 they were caught in the middle of the Boxer Rebellion, an uprising against foreigners in China. Because of his success in helping several mines recover, he became known as the "doctor of sick mines." This lead to him becoming a partner in a British company in 1901 and starting his own international engineering firm in 1912. This made him a millionaire by the age of 40.
In 1914 his life as an humanitarian and public servant began when he took charge of getting Americans out of Europe who had been trapped there since the start of WWI. In 1917 he became the head of the United States Food Administration for President Wilson. 
This led to Hoover being the Director General of American Relief Administration that fed 350 million people in 21 countries who had suffered because of the war. After the war the Hoovers returned to Stanford to start the Hoover Institution of War, Revolution and Peace. The institution continues as a conservative think tank promoting the principle of individual economics and political freedom.
In 1921 he became the Secretary of Commerce and held the position until 1928 serving in the administrations of Harding and Coolidge. As secretary he worked to make government more efficient through standardization. He also promoted foreign trade.
In 1927 he directed the relief efforts during the Great Mississippi River Flood that covered 27,000 square miles in nearly 30 feet of water leaving 700,000 people homeless. He personally went to the Mississippi Valley to oversee the response, including the building of over 100 tent cities.  
His work at Commerce and with the flood relief made him the favorite for the Republican nomination for president in 1928. With his solid reputation and the booming economy of the "roaring twenties" he won an overwhelming victory with 58% of the vote and winning several Democratic Southern states.  
Only eight months after taking office the stock market crashed in October 1929. This was after Hoover had started working to reform the government's role in regulating business and the economy.
The crash triggered the Great Depression that continued until the start of WWII. Hoover did respond with plans for more government spending, but wanted it done while still balancing the budget. These events lead to Hoover's loss in the 1932 election against Franklin D. Roosevelt.
From 1933 Hoover remained the only living former president for 19 years until 1953 when Truman left office. He first went to New York and then to Stanford until his wife, Lou, died in 1944. He then returned to New York and lived in this suite at the Waldorf Astoria until he died in 1964. 
After WWII Truman asked Hoover to go to Europe to assess the needs of the people after the war. This lead to programs like CARE and UNICEF that helped children around the world.  This marked his return to public service where he later headed a commission under both Truman and Eisenhower that made recommendations on how the president could better manage the executive branch. 
A couple of quilts made from t-shirts from schools across the nation that were named after Hoover. I can say a visit to the Herbert Hoover site in West Branch will leave you with a different look at a president who is mostly remembered as being in office when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression started 
When Hoover died in 1964 he was buried in West Branch alongside his wife Lou. Leading the funeral procession was former president Harry Truman. There are thirteen presidential libraries and this is the sixth we have visited. Each one offers a great, in depth look at the person they are built to honor.
This is what we have been living with since we were in South Dakota. We did not want to open the slide after finding ball bearings on the floor when we opened it in Mitchell. It took a while to find a repair facility that could schedule us and with whom we felt comfortable. The first place in Omaha could not get the parts in time, a dealer in Indiana said we could "drop off" the rig in August and a place we called in North Carolina never returned our call.  
 After talking to Newmar again, we called Lasso E RV in Anamosa, Iowa. Not only could they get us in, they had the rollers in stock. If you look closely you can see they had the top of the slide tilted out to get access to the rollers inside. Talk about great service, we arrived at 9:30 for our 11:00 appointment and were paying the bill by 11:00. This is the best service we have ever had since hitting the road ten years ago.
We are back to normal with the slide working so we have easy access to the pantry and much more room. The slide was repaired June 28th and we have since been to Indianapolis, Louisville and Nashville so we have plenty more to blog about.


Jan Mains said...

We've passed up that library numerous times. This year we plan to see it when we get back to the lower 48.

Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Interesting post. A Republican President with a strong sense of morals. Growing up in Iowa we never visited Hoover's birthplace. Now we have added it to our list.