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West Branch, Iowa
—  City  —
Downtown West Branch
Motto: A Heritage for Success
Location of West Branch, Iowa
Coordinates: 41°40′23″N 91°20′45″W / 41.67306°N 91.34583°W / 41.67306; -91.34583
Country  United States
State  Iowa
Counties Cedar, Johnson
 - Total 2.0 sq mi (5.1 km2)
 - Land 2.0 sq mi (5.1 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 719 ft (219 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 2,188
 - Density 1,106.8/sq mi (427.4/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

West Branch is a city in Cedar and Johnson counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 2,188 at the 2000 census.

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



Hoover birthplace cottage.
Reconstructed Jesse Hoover blacksmith shop.

The city of West Branch was first settled in the mid-19th century 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.[1].

Before the 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.[2][3] 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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8] The industrial park is also home to Plastic Products, Wausau and, by the end of 2007, will be home to Acciona Energía's first North American wind turbine assembly plant.[9]

West Branch has been one of 36 communities in the Main Street Iowa program since being accepted on June 1, 2006.[10] The program encourages downtown economic development through historic preservation.

The Gruwell and Crew General Store is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but it has been named as one of the most endangered historic properties in Iowa by the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance.[11]


West Branch is located at 41°40′23″N 91°20′45″W / 41.67306°N 91.34583°W / 41.67306; -91.34583 (41.673076, -91.345815).[12]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.0 square miles (5.1 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.

The ZIP code for West Branch is 52358.


The historic and endangered[13] 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.

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

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 escalating a sloped field, yielding a playing field with natural seating on three sides.

The city hosts Acciona Windpower's first wind turbine factory in North America. [1]


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. During the winning streak, West Branch beat Clear Creek-Amana by scoring 81 points, the 22nd most points scored by one team in Iowa history.[14] 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 PGA 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 30 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.[15]


As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 2,188 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/sq mi (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.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.9% 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.

Notable natives


Interstate 80 runs west and east through West Branch.


  1. ^ video "West Branch, Iowa" by Stephen Schmidt
  2. ^ John Brown And The Underground Railroad
  3. ^
  4. ^ Slave graves: Researchers find evidence behind 150-year-old tale. West Branch Times, August 27, 2008
  5. ^ Hoover and Truman - Chapter 6: Exclusive Trade Unionists
  6. ^ NPS - Page In-Progress
  7. ^ School enrollment resumes decline - West Branch Times - West Branch, Iowa -
  8. ^ P&G finds development company to complete W. Branch expansion - West Branch Times - West Branch, Iowa -
  9. ^ A powerful development - West Branch Times - West Branch, Iowa -
  10. ^ Main Street names WB - West Branch Times - West Branch, Iowa -
  11. ^ Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance,
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  13. ^ Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance,
  14. ^ Iowa High School Athletic Association
  15. ^
  16. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  17. ^ hawk central | Hawkeye Football
  18. ^ Iowa City Press-Citizen: Sports

External links



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