West Branch, Iowa

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West Branch is a city in Cedar and Johnson counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 2,342 as of July 2009, a 7% growth since the 2000 census.

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

Contents

History

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]. Most of Main Street is part of the West Branch Commercial Historic District.

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, Acciona Windpower North America.

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