Effects of the Tornado on Government
The tornado severely impacted city and county government facilities and operations in Gainesville – the Gainesville City Hall and the Hall County Courthouse were completely destroyed. Federal facilities survived the storm mostly intact, with relatively minor damage.
Vanishing Georgia image hal213, taken from the corner of Bradford and Broad Streets, shows the Bradford Street façade of Hall County Courthouse after the tornado strike. Note that the roof and its elegant cupola, as well as most of the upper story, have disappeared. The old courthouse, originally built in the 1880s, was slated for eventual replacement, so ironically the storm served to speed up development of a new county facility.
Film clip torn012, taken from the opposite side of the Courthouse, begins with the heavily damaged Green Street façade and pans across the adjacent smoldering debris field. Note the men carefully navigating their way through the hazardous jumble of splintered building materials.
The especially fascinating image hchp0152 from the Hall County Library Historical Photograph Collection shows Miss Gladys Tanner beside the bell that previously had resided in the Courthouse cupola. Incredibly, the tornado carried the massive bronze bell through the air, depositing it several hundred yards from the demolished Courthouse site.