West Branch, Iowa

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West Branch, Iowa
City
Downtown West Branch
Downtown West Branch
Motto: A Heritage for Success
Location of West Branch, Iowa
Location of West Branch, Iowa
Coordinates: 41°40′N 91°21′W / 41.667°N 91.350°W / 41.667; -91.350Coordinates: 41°40′N 91°21′W / 41.667°N 91.350°W / 41.667; -91.350
Country  United States
State  Iowa
Counties Cedar, Johnson
Government
 • Mayor Mark Worrell
Area[1]
 • 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)[2]
 • Total 2,322
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 2,331
 • Density 727.9/sq mi (281.0/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
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[edit]

Hoover birthplace cottage.
Reconstructed Jesse Hoover blacksmith shop.

West Branch was laid out in 1869 by Joseph Steer. It was incorporated in 1875.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6][7] He also stayed at James Townsend's inn, the Traveler's Rest, in the winter of 1856. [8] 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.[9]

West Branch experienced rapid growth after the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway was built through it.[10]

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.[11] The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, which includes the Library-Museum, the Hoover Birthplace Cottage and the gravesites of President and Lou Henry Hoover, was authorized by Congress on August 12, 1965.[12]

Geography[edit]

West Branch is located at 41°40′N 91°21′W / 41.667°N 91.350°W / 41.667; -91.350 (41.673, -91.346).[13]

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.[1]

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

Demographics[edit]

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%
Source:"American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.  and Iowa Data Center

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] 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[edit]

As of the census[14] 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.

Economy[edit]

West Branch has been one of 36 communities in the Main Street Iowa program since being accepted on June 1, 2006.[15] The program encourages downtown economic development through historic preservation.

The city's industrial park is home to a major distribution center of Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble. The building is 550,000 square feet (51,000 m2) and as of 2007, is undergoing an expansion.[16] The industrial park is also home to Plastic Products, Wausau and, Acciona Windpower North America.

As of November 2007, construction was completed on Acciona Energía's wind turbine generator engineering and assembly plant, the first in North America.[17] Production began at the plant in December 2007.[18]

Arts and culture[edit]

Museums[edit]

The historic and endangered [19]
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[edit]

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.[19]

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.

Education[edit]

The West Branch Community School District has about 800 students and includes three schools: Hoover Elementary, West Branch Middle School and West Branch High School.[20]

Scattergood Friends School, a Quaker boarding school, is located east of the city.

High school sports[edit]

West Branch is known for a rich football tradition. From 1990 through 1997, West Branch High School won 62 consecutive regular season games. This is the second longest winning streak in the state of Iowa, following only Harlan High School's 66 consecutive wins. In addition, West Branch won 36 consecutive games (including postseason) from 1991 until the 1993 Iowa State football playoffs. In 1995 West Branch won against Clear Creek-Amana by scoring 81 points in the first half before the game was called due to the 50 point "Mercy Rule". As of March 15, 2010 the Iowa High School Athletic Association records this as the 37th most points scored by one team in Iowa history.[21] Unfortunately, the West Branch football team hasn't made such progress since then. The Bears are also known for having a very strong boys golf program. From 1989-1997, West Branch did not lose a regular season dual meet. Their teams hold five state championships (1976, 1989–92), and have been the breeding grounds for professionals Dave Rummells and Sean McCarty. McCarty is one of the more decorated golfers in Iowa's history, having won three state individual titles and one runner-up. Rummells finished in the top-25 money winnings on the PGA Tour in 1989.

The West Branch Bears boys golf team won four state championships, and the football team won three state championships, in 1989, 1991 and 1992.[22]

Transportation[edit]

Interstate 80 runs west and east through West Branch.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  4. ^ Aurner, Clarence Ray (1910). A Topical History of Cedar County, Iowa, Volume 1. S. J. Clarke. p. 149. 
  5. ^ GazetteOnline.com video "West Branch, Iowa" by Stephen Schmidt
  6. ^ John Brown And The Underground Railroad
  7. ^ hooverassociation.org[dead link]
  8. ^ John Brown: 1800-1859: A biography after fifty years, page 312 By Oswald Garrison Villard
  9. ^ Gregory R. Norfleet, Slave graves: Researchers find evidence behind 150-year-old tale. West Branch Times, August 27, 2008
  10. ^ The History of Cedar County, Iowa: Containing a History of the County, Its Cities, Towns, etc.. Western Historical Company. 1878. p. 509. 
  11. ^ Hoover and Truman - Chapter 6: Exclusive Trade Unionists
  12. ^ NPS - Page In-Progress
  13. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ Main Street names WB - West Branch Times - West Branch, Iowa - westbranchtimes.com
  16. ^ P&G finds development company to complete W. Branch expansion - West Branch Times - West Branch, Iowa - westbranchtimes.com
  17. ^ Poggenklass, Rob (April 26, 2007). "A powerful development". West Branch Times. Retrieved 2011-08-23. 
  18. ^ "ACCIONA Windpower - Wind Turbine Generator Assembly Plant". ACCIONA North America. Retrieved 2011-08-23. 
  19. ^ a b "Gruwell and Crew General Store". Preservation Iowa. Retrieved 2011-08-23. 
  20. ^ Rob Poggenklass,School enrollment resumes decline - West Branch Times - West Branch, Iowa - westbranchtimes.com Times Online
  21. ^ Iowa High School Athletic Association
  22. ^ http://www.iahsaa.org/FB_4_CHAMPGAME.pdf
  23. ^ hawk central | Hawkeye Football[dead link]
  24. ^ "HERBERT HOOVER: Chronology". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 2011-08-23. 
  25. ^ Dave Rummells - PGA Tour profile

External links[edit]