Discover the Only President Born in Iowa (and Where He Was Raised)

Written by Patrick MacFarland
Published: December 6, 2023
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The men who have become President of the United States have all been unique. They were born in different states across the nation and come from different backgrounds. Gerald Ford was the only one born in Nebraska, but Theodore Roosevelt was one of five born in New York. When it comes to Iowa, Herbert Hoover is the one president born in the Hawkeye State. Let’s explore the only president born in Iowa and where he was raised. We’ll also include some facts about President Hoover and the places in Iowa where he lived.

The Only President Ever Born in Iowa

Herbert Hoover

Hoover was the first president to be born west of the Mississippi River.

©Samuele Wikipediano 1348, CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

There are a whopping eight presidents born in Virginia, but only two were born in Texas. And when it comes to Iowa, just one president was born in the Hawkeye State. Herbert Clark Hoover was born in West Branch, IA, on August 10, 1874. Hoover served as President from 1929 to 1933. He lived in West Branch until he was 11 years old when he was sent to live with an uncle in Oregon after his parents died.

About West Branch, IA

West Branch, IA was incorporated in 1875 and Quakers mainly lived in the city at first. The city was used as a stop in the Underground Railroad. After several railroads were built around the city, West Branch grew in size. But the population growth remained stagnant and today the city has a population of 2,509.

Other Places Where Hoover Lived

Herbert Hoover lived in several places around the country. Let’s take a look at each of those places.

  • Newburg, OR: He lived here with his uncle after his parents died.
  • Palo Alto, CA: He studied at Stanford University even though he did not attend high school. After his presidency, he and his wife lived in Palo Alto until 1944.
  • Sierra Nevadas: He lived here working the mines and other odd jobs before getting hired by a London-based mining company.
  • Western Australia: Hoover worked in the mines in several towns in Western Australia before getting another job in China.
  • Tianjin, China: Hoover developed gold mines in Tianjin and worked hard to move up the ladder.
  • London, UK: Eventually he expanded his efforts, raised a lot of money, and bought several companies in the geology and mining field. He became a very wealthy man.
  • Washington D.C.: Wilson appointed him as head of the US Food Administration and moved to the nation’s capital. He went back and forth between Palo Alto and Washington during this time. He then got appointed as Secretary of Commerce under Harding and Coolidge. He also lived here during his time as President.
  • New York City: Hoover set up camp at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1944, which is where he remained and died.

About Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover lived in West Branch, IA for the first 11 years of his life. After his parents died, he moved to live with an uncle in Oregon. He attended Stanford University and afterward, he eventually made a name for himself in the geology and mining industry. Hoover also lived in various places throughout the world. He created a reputation that attracted the big-wigs in Washington. Woodrow Wilson appointed him as head of the US Food Administration during World War I. He was then appointed Secretary of Commerce by Warren Harding in 1921 and served in that position until 1928. He ran for President in 1928 and won.

Hoover Presidency’s Major Achievements

The White House in Washington DC

Herbert Hoover was the only president who spoke Mandarin Chinese and would often speak to his wife in the language.

©Vacclav/iStock via Getty Images

Throughout his presidency, Herbert Hoover enacted legislation that impacted many people throughout the country. Let’s take a look at President Hoover’s highlighting legislation in his presidency.

  • Hoover signed the Agricultural Marketing Act, which would revitalize the poor market for farm products. It also established the Federal Farm Board to ensure agricultural products are sold.
  • The Stock Market crashed on October 29, 1929, which prompted Hoover to see what he could do to stabilize the economy.
  • Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act to alleviate American companies, but other countries did the same and ended up not helping.
  • Congress passed the Bonus Loan Bill to allow veterans to obtain cash loans even though Hoover vetoed the bill (Congress overrode it).
  • The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was established to lend banks and insurance companies money and stimulate the economy.
  • Hoover ordered the US Army to remove veterans who had been protesting for some time about Hoover’s policies that were not doing enough to help them.

Herbert Hoover After His Presidency

U.S. Department of Commerce - Herbert Hoover Building - Washington, DC - Winter

Herbert Hoover was the only living former president from 1933 to 1953. Pictured here is the Department of Commerce Building, named after Hoover.

©silvermanmediaservices/iStock via Getty Images

When Hoover lost the 1932 election to Franklin D. Roosevelt, he returned to Palo Alto, CA, with his wife. After his wife died, he left California and permanently lived at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. He participated in relief programs and organizations during World War II. Hoover also assisted Harry Truman on various tasks throughout his presidency.

Herbert Hoover also wrote several books during his time as former president. On October 20, 1964, he died in New York City at the age of 90. His remains were interred at the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, which is near his presidential library.


And there you have it, the only president ever born in Iowa was Herbert Hoover. He served in one of the most consequential eras of American history. The Great Depression impacted people and Hoover’s policies did not help. Because Franklin D. Roosevelt had offered great solutions, he was defeated. His legacy ensures that he is in the bottom rung of presidents.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Tudoran Andrei/

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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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