The 1936 Gainesville Tornado: Disaster and Recovery

The 1936 Gainesville Tornado: Disaster and Recovery provides online access to a historical film depicting the extensive damage from the severe multi-funnel tornado strike that devastated Gainesville, Georgia, on April 6, 1936. The thirty-two-and-a-half minute film, probably shot for insurance purposes, focuses on the devastation of the commercial and governmental center of Gainesville, but also includes footage of damage to nearby residential areas. In particular, it features the damage to the public square, the county courthouse, the Georgia Power Company, the Cooper Pants Factory, and the First Methodist Church. The 1936 Gainesville tornado (part of a massive tornado outbreak across the Deep South that also heavily damaged Tupelo, Mississippi) is generally regarded as the fifth deadliest in U.S. history. Extensive recovery efforts involving many local, regional, state, and national resources eventually rebuilt Gainesville, culminating in the 1938 dedication of the new city hall and county courthouse by President Franklin Roosevelt.

The site provides an introductory essay, as well as a multi-media exhibition on the tornado and the extensive recovery effort afterwards. An interactive map offers geographically-based access to selected film clips for which shooting locations have been identified. The site also includes links to related images in Vanishing Georgia and the Hall County Library System Historical Photograph Collection.

About the Project

The 1936 Gainesville Tornado: Disaster and Recovery is a project of the Digital Library of Georgia in association with the Hall County Library System and the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection as part of Georgia HomePLACE. This project is supported with federal LSTA funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. More