Over-plowing, over-planting overproducing; it wasn't long before farmers ranging from Texas to North Dakota exhausted their farmland. This land, known as the dust bowl, became unfit for farming as the once fertile soil and dirt turned to dust. The land that was once full of crops was no longer arable. The drought and wind that hit in the early 1930's left little grass and few trees on the land, as well as nothing to hold the topsoil down. Dust accumulated into large clouds and swept the nation from the plains to the East Coast rendering damage to the land. Something needed to be done about the loose soil, which is why new technologies, such as tractors, had to be used.
Southern plains, like Kansas Oklahoma, and Texas suffered the most. Thousands of farmers in these areas had to leave their land behind because they were ruined. Huge dust storms blew away wheat crops in Oklahoma, clouded the air to complete darkness in New Mexico, and the dust reached the East Coast and beyond, leaving a dusty film on buildings, ships, and even airplanes. The Dust Bowl changed the landscape of the country, and left the land torn apart.
Breadlines & Soup Kitchens
The Great Depression left the nation devastated. Families were financially unable to scrape up money for their next meal. Breadlines and soup kitchens were established as charitable organizations giving free bread and soup to the impoverished.
A breadline refers to the line of people waiting outside a charity. These charities gave out free food such as bread and soup. There were so many homeless people that these lines stretched across blocks, filled with desperate civillians struggling to get by.
Soup Kitchens are places where food is served to the hungry. They were first set up by private organizations and churches, and eventually the government began to operate them. Families struggled to put food on the table and many resorted to soup kitchens for daily meals. The increased rate of impoverished citizens called for a lot of charitable food orginizations like these soup kitchens.
Shanty Towns & Hoovervilles
The level of homeless citizens significantly increased during the 1930's as some people lost everything. Hobos were a common sight as they were attracted to urban settlements - usually near soup kitchens. Formed on the outskirts of cities, Shanty Towns were dense, little towns made up of tents and small shacks put by homeless people as shelter.
Hoovervilles became an interchangeable term for Shanty Towns because of President Herbert Hoover's involvement in the depression. He's widely blamed for the steep economic downfall while the government did little to help it. "Between 1929 and 1933, more than 100,000 businesses failed across the nation. When President Hoover left office in 1933, national unemployment hovered at a staggering 13 million — nearly 25 percent of America's work force" (U-S-History). President Hoover seemed to do no good for the country as he drove American citizens into these Shanty Towns appropriately named after him.