Large amounts of citizens in America during the depression of the 1930's lost their money and homes. Among the hundreds of Hoovervilles across the U.S. during the 1930s were those in: Hoovervilles have often featured in popular culture, and still appear in editorial cartoons. Divided into distinct sectors, the racially integrated and cohesive encampment was home to as many as 8,000 destitute people. By the middle of 1941, Roosevelt’s New Deal programs had increased employment to the point that all but a few Hoovervilles had been abandoned and demolished. [16] Movies such as My Man Godfrey (1936) and Sullivan's Travels (1941) sometimes sentimentalized Hooverville life. Life in the encampments remained best described as grim. The first nine years of the so-called “Roaring Twenties” had been a decade of prosperity and optimism in the United States. Commanded by Maj. George S. Patton, the U.S. Army burned the Hooverville and drove the veterans out with tanks, tear gas, and fixed bayonets. Dwellings in the Hoovervilles were little more than shacks built of discarded bricks, wood, tin, and cardboard. They were derisively called Hoovervilles after President Hoover. end modern homelessness - click During the Great Depression, which began in 1929 and lasted approximately a decade, shantytowns appeared across the U.S. as unemployed people were evicted from their homes. Hoovervilles of the Great Depression Squatter’s shacks in “Hooverville,” Portland, Oregon, Arthur Rothstein, 1936. However, some cities banned them if they trespassed on parks or privately owned land. President Herbert Hoover, however, refused to propose any assistance programs, saying instead that Americans should help each other. Built during the Great Depression, Hoovervilles were soup kitchens where people could get free meals. 1 out of 4 6. There were hundreds of Hoovervilles across the country during the 1930s and hundreds of thousands of people lived in these slums. The growth of shantytowns throughout the nation B. A “Hooverville” was a shanty town built by homeless people during the Great Depression. St. Louis, Missouri, was the site of the largest Hooverville in America. They are called "hoovervilles" because they are named after Herbert Hoover who was the president at the time. The camp was demolished by units of the U.S. Army, commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. (2021, February 17). By 1932, between one and two million American people were homeless. Homelessness was rampant during the Great Depression. [7], After 1940 the economy recovered, unemployment fell, and shanty housing eradication programs destroyed all the Hoovervilles.[8]. They then moved to "Hoovervilles", areas of makeshift homes next to cities. “There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation,” he wrote of the squalled camp. Kids still went to school in the cities during the Great Depression, although many had to drop out when they were 16 or 17 to get jobs. The public’s frustration with President Hoover’s refusal to deal with the Depression peaked in the spring of 1932 when an estimated 15,000 World War I veterans and their families established a Hooverville along the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. On June 17, 1932, many of the veterans, known as the “Bonus Army,” marched on the U.S. Capitol demanding payment the badly needed WWI combat bonuses the government had promised them. As people increasingly relied on credit to buy homes filled with new conveniences of the day, like refrigerators, radios, and cars, many Americans were living beyond their means. By the time the U.S. entered World War II in 1941, enough Americans were working again that virtually all the encampments had vanished. What were Hoovervilles? In some cases, public schools had to close or couldn't afford basic items like books. They were named after Herbert Hoover, who was President of the United States during the onset of the Depression and was widely blamed for it. While Hoovervilles were ramshackle places, they were not the same as a rail-side camp for beggars or the indolent. A “Hoover blanket” was a pile of old newspapers used as bedding. However, prosperity was soon replaced by poverty and optimism by desperation following the stock market crash of October 1929 and the general failure of the nation’s banking system. Shantytowns were a result of the high unemployment rates, which ultimately led to homelessness. However, most buildings were little more than crude shelters thrown together from wooden crates, cardboard boxes, tar paper, scrap metal, and other fire-prone discarded materials. 7. By the early 1940s, Roosevelt’s New Deal programs had turned the economy around and many of the Hoovervilles had been abandoned and demolished. Score .9963 User: 15. Longley, Robert. As fears grew, many Americans believed the U.S. government could and should do something to help. Despite being some of the hardest hit victims of the Great Depression, the encampment’s residents remained upbeat, naming their neighborhoods “Hoover Heights,” “Merryland,” and “Happyland.” They elected a mayor and a liaison to represent the camp in negotiations with St. Louis authorities. This version of the shanty town was based in Central Park. For example, one of the eight Hoovervilles in Seattle, Washington, stood from 1931 to 1941. Hoovervilles: Homeless Camps of the Great Depression. Hooverville: A crudely built camp put up usually on the edge of a town to house the many poverty-stricken people who had lost their homes during the Depression of the 1930s. How did Herbert Hoover believe the United States would get out of the Great Depression? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/hoovervilles-homeless-camps-of-the-great-depression-4845996. 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