Hooverville

Hooverville

[hoo-ver-vil]
A Hooverville was the popular name for a shanty town built by homeless men in the depression years. The term was coined by Charles Michelson, publicity chief of the Democratic National Committee.

The name Hooverville has also been used to describe the tent cities commonly found in modern-day America.

These settlements were often formed on empty land consisted of jerry-built shacks and tents. 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 forced 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. Democrats coined other terms, 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 an automobile with horses tied to it because the owner could not afford gasoline; in Canada, these were known as Bennett buggies, after the Prime Minister.

Notable Hoovervilles

Popular culture

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Notes

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