Sunday, October 14, 2012

Exploration 7: Research & Active Reading-Hoovervilles

This is what many Hoovervilles looked like in the United States. This is a picture of a large Hooverville in Seattle, Washington. As you can see, some shacks where nicer than others, but none of them are too extravagant.
             A cultural event that stands out to me in the reading is the "Hooverville." A Hooverville was the name given to the shanty towns that sprung up all over the country. Hoovervilles consisted of men, women, and children that were unable to find work because of the Great Depression, and were therefore homeless. The term "Hooverville" arose, because these men, women, and children blamed President Herbert Hoover for the extent of the Great Depression and for the lack of government help. These towns formed in the terrible deserted areas of the United States and were home of anywhere from dozens to hundreds of shacks that the people there called home.

            Typical Hooverville shacks were built out of anything from newspaper, cardboard, and tar paper, to wood, metal, or even glass. Some men had enough skill and were able to construct homes out of old concrete blocks, while others had so little skill that they had to seek shelter inside of empty water mains or culverts.

            Other terms that I found that were meant as a mockery of President Hoover:

"Hoover blanket" - Newspaper used as a blanket.

"Hoover flag" - Empty pocket turned inside out.

"Hoover leather" - cardboard used to re-sole a shoe.

"Hoover wagon" - car being pulled by horses, because the owner could not afford fuel.

            Today, the idea of a "Hooverville" is not very prevalent, but we do have homeless people. These homeless people live a lot like the families did in Hoovervilles. Homeless people make their shelter out of whatever they can find, typically a cardboard box. They also are always begging for money or for a job. This shows me that although we, as a country, are better off now than we were during the Great Depression; we still have some things that need taken care off. We still have homeless people living in their "shacks" in the street and alleys of cities. We still have financial issues as a country. If these financial issues were fixed, there would not be anyone without a job. There would not be anyone begging for food and money.

Works Cited:


  1. Crazy that that is what some people used to live in! very informative piece enjoyed reading and learning more about hooverville.

  2. The black and white picture adds to the effect. It looks like a World War II era European city post bombing. I thought the "Hoover" terms were funny and have every intention on using them.

  3. They only touched up a little on hoovervilles in the book, and learning more about them really put a perspective on how bad it really was during the depression. Its crazy how people actaully lived in them!

  4. This is great! I am honestly shocked at these living conditions that these people were subject to. It blows my mind honestly, I couldn't imagine living through what they did let alone even one night of it. But, God Bless them, they did what they could with what they had. Its sad to see that such places even existed, and its even more disheartening to see those who were doing well treat them like they were sub-human and burn what little they did have. Thank you very much for your research, I enjoyed it a lot!

  5. Typically it is founded upon to live in a pile of rubbish consisting of cardboard and scrap metal. Usually it’s the poorest of the poor, the homeless. The fact that they name these towns Hooverville is quite interesting, to name the poorest place to live after one of the most powerful persons at the time. It raises questions and thoughts of dissatisfaction within the migrants.

  6. It's crazy that they made homes out of whatever they could find. I like all of the "Hoover" terms. It's sad to think of how many migrants were basically homeless at this time, especially when you know they were tricked from their homes just so the land owners could lower wages to increase their profits.

  7. Didn't see that you already posted about Hoovervilles before i posted mine but i like how you incorporated things such as Hoover wagon hoover blanket and such.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.