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During the Great Depression shantytowns appeared across the U.S. as unemployed people were evicted from their homes in fields like this.
Causing severe hardships for millions of Americans, many looked to the federal government for assistance.President Herbert Hoover was blamed for the intolerable economic and social conditions.
The shantytowns that cropped up across the nation, primarily on the outskirts of major cities, became known as Hoovervilles.
Hoovervilles were built near rivers for the convenience of a water source.Some Hoovervilles were dotted with vegetable gardens, and some individual shacks contained furniture a family had managed to carry away upon eviction from their former home.
For example, newspapers used to shield the homeless from the cold were called “Hoover blankets".Cars pulled by horses because gas was an unaffordable luxury were called “Hoover wagons.”
Thousands of World War I veterans and their families and friends set up a Hooverville on the banks of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C.When most of the veterans refused to leave their shacks, Hoover sent in U.S. Army Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur to evict the Bonus Army. MacArthur’s troops set fire to the Hooverville.
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