Hoovervilles-Central Park

By: Madi Connelly

What is Hoovervilles or (Shantytowns)

  • Hoovervilles-Central Park is a crudely built camp put up on the edge of town to house the dispossessed and destitute during the depression of the 1930s.

Where Hoovervilles (Shantytowns) Formed

In the 1930s Hoovervilles (shantytowns) formed coast to coast in cities of the United States.

Results and Facts of the Great Depression

  • Some families were fortunate enough to stay with friends and family members that hadn't been evicted yet, but homeless men, women and children were forced to take up residence in shacks as a result of the Great Depression.
  • The depression affected the poor so much that they felt nothing but hopelessness.
  • Some men were skilled workers, and were capable of constructing fairly solid structures, while others less skilled scraped together packing boxes and other discarded items to provide shelter. Unemployed masons salvaged stone blocks and old bricks to create 20-foot tall shanties. Unfortunate men were reduced to sheltering themselves inside empty water mains.
  • As the economic crashes in the 1930s went on, more and more people were ruined. Delinquent taxes, drastically rising unemployment and mortgage foreclosures were hard to overcome. Those factors forced people to either move into Hoovervilles or become transients. A transient is a person who is staying or working in a place for only a short time like a hobo or street person or even a homeless person.
  • Between 1929 and 1933 more than 100,000 businesses failed across the nation.
  • When President Hoover left office in 1933 unemployment staggered to 13 million people - nearly 25% of America's work force.
  • Trying to get rid of Hoovervilles but that turned out to be a difficult task. People had no other place to call home. Several attempts were made to eliminate those small villages during the 1930s, but government and city officials couldn't really do anything about the health issues and mess that Hoovervilles created.
  • Most American cities participated in several new deal programs, much of the country's political leadership did not like federal initiatives. Many city officials fought local efforts to establish a city housing authority in 1938, arguing that public housing would depress property values, and was susceptible to communist influence.
  • Shantytown populations were organized; having their own mayor sanitary committee and other committees. In 1941 a shack elimination program was put into effect and shantytown were torn down. Employment levels had begun to rise which this gradually provided some shelter and security for formerly homeless Americans.

Who did the Americans blame

  • Angry, cold, and hungry Americans blamed Herbert Hoover for the downfall of economic stability and lack of government help.

New york's Central park

  • One of the largest Hoovervilles lay in the center of New york's Central Park.
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Hooverville in Central Park