A Hooverville to be the popular name attributed to shanty communities that sprung up throughout the unified States throughout the great Depression. They were called after Herbert Hoover, that was president of the united States throughout the beginning of the Depression and also was extensively blamed because that it.

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Americans affixed the president’s name to these shanty towns due to the fact that they were frustrated and disappointed with Hoover’s inability to effectively attend to the farming economic crisis. Shocked and confused through the crisis, they held Hoover personally responsible because that the state the the economy.

Most big cities built municipal lodging houses for the homeless, however the Depression significantly increased demand. The homeless clustered in shanty towns close to cost-free soup kitchens. These settlements were frequently trespassing on personal lands, but they were frequently tolerated or ignored the end of necessity.

Some of the males who to be made to live in these problems possessed building skills and to be able to develop their dwellings out of stone. Most people, however, resorted to structure their residences out of boxwood, cardboard, and any scraps of steel they might find. Some individuals also lived in water mains or slept on the ground. Many were forced to resort to begging because that food native those fortunate enough to obtain housing during this era.

Several other terms came into use during this era, such as “Hoover blanket” (old newspaper supplied as blanketing) and “Hoover flag” (an empty pocket turned within out). “Hoover leather” was cardboard used to heat a shoe through the single worn through. A “Hoover wagon” to be a car with steeds tied to it since the owner might not purchased gasoline.


The central Park Hooverville. 1933.

One of the most famous Hoovervilles to be the one located in brand-new York City, on what is now main Park’s great Lawn. When the stock market crashed in 1929, it emerged just as a rectangle-shaped reservoir north of Belvedere castle was being taken the end of service. Through 1930, a couple of homeless people collection up an informal camp in ~ the drained reservoir however were soon evicted.

But, having actually nowhere come go, they would come ago and as new Yorkers emotion became an ext sympathetic, lock were allowed to stay. Referred to as “Hoover Valley,” the reservoir shortly sported a variety of shacks on what to be labeled “Depression Street.” One to be even constructed of brick v a roof of inlaid tile created by unemployed bricklayers.

Others built a apartment from rock blocks of the reservoir, consisting of one shanty the was 20 feet tall. Despite the settlement might not have actually been renowned with the tenants of the new Fifth path and central Park West apartments, they mounted no protest.

There were various other such negotiations in brand-new York – one dubbed “Hardlucksville” which boasted part 80 shacks between Ninth and also 10th streets on the east River. Another called “Camp thomas Paine” existed follow me the Hudson in Riverside Park. The main Park disappeared sometime before April 1933 when job-related on the reservoir landfill resumed.

In Seattle, Washington stood among the largest, longest-lasting, and also best documented Hoovervilles in the country, standing because that ten years, between 1931 to 1941.

Chicago, Illinois Hooverville sprung up at the foot the Randolph Street near provide Park, which likewise claimed that own form of government, with a guy named Mike Donovan, a disabled previous railroad brakeman and also miner, as its “Mayor.”

In one interview through a reporter, Donovan would say “Building building may be in ~ a standstill elsewhere, yet down here every little thing is booming. Our is a sort of communistic government. We swimming pool our interests and also when the commissary shows indications of depletion, we appoint a committee to watch what leavings the hotels have.”

After 1940 the economic climate recovered, unemployment fell, and also shanty housing eradication programs damaged all the Hoovervilles.


Hooverville in central Park.


Visitors tour the Hooverville in central Park. 1933.

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Central Park Hooverville residents gather by “The Mansion,” the shantytown’s chief edifice. 1932.