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Hoovervilles-A Downturn In American History

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The Great Depression
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Hoovervilles and Violence
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Hoovervilles and American History
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Hoovervilles-1930's

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A Hooverville was the popular name for a shanty town, examples of which were found in many United States communities during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The name Hooverville has also been used to describe the Tent Cities commonly found in America.



The word "Hooverville" derives from the name of the President of the United States at the beginning of the Depression, Herbert Hoover. They used Hoover's name because they were frustrated and disappointed with his involvement in the relief effort for the Depression. In addition to financial troubles during the Depression, a drought in the Mississippi Valley forced farmers to auction their land for taxes and reside in Hoovervilles.



These settlements were often formed in horrible neighborhoods or desolate areas and consisted of dozens or hundreds of shacks and tents that were temporary residences of those left unemployed and homeless by the Depression. People slept in anything from open piano crates to the ground. Authorities did not officially recognize these Hoovervilles and occasionally removed the occupants for technically trespassing on private lands, but they were frequently tolerated out of necessity.



Some of the men who were made to live in these conditions possessed building skills and were able to build their houses out of stone. Most people, however, resorted to building their residences out of box wood, cardboard, and any scraps of metal they could find. Some individuals even lived in sewer mains.



Most of these unemployed residents of the Hoovervilles begged for food from those who had housing during this era. Several other terms came into use during this era, such as "Hoover blanket" (old newspaper used as blanketing) and "Hoover flag" (an empty pocket turned inside out). "Hoover leather" was cardboard used to line a shoe with the sole worn through. A "Hoover wagon" was a car with horses tied to it because the owner could not afford gasoline; in Canada, these were known as Bennett buggies. Hoovervilles were known to be a home for people who couldn't pay their mortgages.



This site will give you background knowledge on Hoovervilles, and teach you all you have to know.



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