Term for shanty towns built during the Great Depression

A "Hooverville" is the popular name for slum towns built by people without homes during the Great Depression. They were named after Herbert Hoover, who was the President of the United States during the start of the Great Depression and was given the blame for it.[1]

A Hooverville near Portland, Oregon.

Most Hoovervilles were made out of any materials people could find, including crates, cardboard, and scraps of metal. They usually had a small stove, a bed, and some cooking instruments. People who were living in Hoovervilles without jobs created public charities or asked for food from people with houses.

One well-known Hooverville was in Central Park in New York City, where people lived on the Great Lawn, which was then an empty reservoir.[2]


  1. Hans Kaltenborn, It Seems Like Yesterday (1956) p. 88
  2. Gray, Christopher (29 August 1993). "Streetscapes: Central Park's 'Hooverville'; Life Along 'Depression Street'". The New York Times.