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West Branch, Iowa
Downtown West Branch
Downtown West Branch
Motto(s): 
A Heritage for Success
Location of West Branch, Iowa
Location of West Branch, Iowa
Country  United States
State  Iowa
Counties Cedar, Johnson
Government
 • Mayor Roger Laughlin
Area
 • Total 3.19 sq mi (8.26 km2)
 • Land 3.19 sq mi (8.26 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation
719 ft (219 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 2,322
 • Estimate 
(2012)
2,331
 • Density 727.9/sq mi (281.0/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
52358
Area code(s) 319
FIPS code 19-83595
GNIS feature ID 0462807
Website www.westbranchiowa.org

West Branch is a city in Cedar and Johnson counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 2,322 as of 2010 the 2010 census. It is the birthplace of the only American president born in Iowa, Herbert Hoover.

The Johnson County portion of West Branch is part of the Iowa City, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

Herbert Hoover birthplace
Hoover birthplace cottage.
Jesse Hoover blacksmith shop
Reconstructed Jesse Hoover blacksmith shop.

West Branch was laid out in 1869 by Joseph Steer. It was incorporated in 1875.

The city was first settled chiefly by Quakers from Ohio. Its name is derived from the meeting place of the West Branch Quakers, and the location of the city on the west branch of the Wapsinonoc Creek. Most of Main Street is part of the West Branch Commercial Historic District.

Before the American Civil War, areas in and around West Branch were stops of the Underground Railroad. Abolitionist John Brown once stayed at the Maxson farm east of West Branch. He also stayed at James Townsend's inn, the Traveler's Rest, in the winter of 1856. In 2008, archaeologists found evidence of unmarked graves in nearby North Liberty Cemetery while investigating an account of 17 escaped slaves who died before reaching Canada.

West Branch experienced rapid growth after the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway was built through it.

President Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch in 1874. The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum was dedicated here by Hoover and his close friend, President Harry Truman, in 1962.

Geography

West Branch is located at 41°40′N 91°21′W / 41.667°N 91.35°W / 41.667; -91.35 (41.673, -91.346).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.19 square miles (8.26 km2), all of it land.

West Branch is located approximately 10 miles (16 km) east of Iowa City, and 40 miles (64 km) west of Davenport.

Demographics

Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1880 501 —    
1890 474 −5.4%
1900 647 +36.5%
1910 643 −0.6%
1920 688 +7.0%
1930 652 −5.2%
1940 719 +10.3%
1950 769 +7.0%
1960 1,053 +36.9%
1970 1,322 +25.5%
1980 1,867 +41.2%
1990 1,908 +2.2%
2000 2,188 +14.7%
2010 2,322 +6.1%
2014 2,349 +1.2%
2015 2,337 −0.5%
Source: and Iowa Data Center
Source:
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,322 people, 947 households, and 612 families residing in the city. The population density was 727.9 inhabitants per square mile (281.0/km2). There were 990 housing units at an average density of 310.3 per square mile (119.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.0% White, 0.4% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.1% of the population.

There were 947 households of which 33.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.2% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.4% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.92.

The median age in the city was 38.7 years. 24.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.5% were from 25 to 44; 28.4% were from 45 to 64; and 13.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,341 people, 840 households, and 572 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,106.8 people per square mile (426.7/km²). There were 876 housing units at an average density of 443.1 per square mile (170.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.71% White, 0.37% African American, 0.41% Native American, 0.91% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.59% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.74% of the population.

There were 840 households out of which 37.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.7% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.03.

26.9% are under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,500, and the median income for a family was $51,667. Males had a median income of $31,949 versus $26,379 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,577. About 4.5% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.1% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Museums

West-branch gruwell-crew
The historic and endangered
Gruwell and Crew General Store

West Branch is home to the Herbert Hoover National Historical Site, run by the National Park Service and Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, run by the National Archives and Records Administration. The library holds the documentary legacy of Rose Wilder Lane and her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Landmarks

The Gruwell and Crew General Store is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.It was named as one of the most endangered historic properties in Iowa by the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance in 2008.

Oliphant Street Field, the playing field for the West Branch High School football team, is situated just northwest of downtown. Colloquially known as "the Little Rose Bowl", it was constructed by the Works Progress Administration by excavating a sloped field, yielding a playing field with natural seating on three sides.

Transportation

Interstate 80 runs west and east through West Branch.

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