After the stock market crashed in 1929, unemployment levels skyrocketed and many families in America's largest cities were unable to pay their mortgages or rent payments. In other times, this would have created a large homelessness crisis, but the Depression-era people came up with an idea: they simply built themselves small homes in public places. These shantytowns sprung up all across the nation and housed nearly 30,000 people during the peak of the Depression.
Here is a rare look inside some of the Hoovervilles in New York City, Portland, and Seattle.
July 16, 1934. A Hooverville in Seattle Washington.
The first Hooverville to spring up was in a barren Central Park in New York City, as seen in this 1933 photo.
Another view of the Central Park Hooverville in 1933