Establishing Order

Given the immense scale of the tornado strike and the ensuing chaos, overwhelmed local authorities needed lots of assistance to help restore order in Gainesville. About 500 cadets from Riverside Military Academy, under the direction of Colonel Sandy Beaver, comprised the first organized group to reach the scene of devastation – they worked feverishly to restore and maintain order until the National Guard arrived. The 122nd Infantry Regiment of the Georgia National Guard, mobilized in Atlanta under Colonel Thomas Alexander, hurried to Gainesville and began coordinating various relief agencies, guarding damaged homes and businesses, operating field kitchens, and providing truck transportation for food, clothing, medical supplies, and emergency personnel.

Senator Richard B. Russell, City Attorney J. Ernest 
        Palmour, Jr., and Major Joseph Cooke survey damage.

Key dignitaries, responsible for helping restore order to devastated Gainesville, survey the extensive tornado damage in Hall County Library Historical Photograph Collection image hchp0159. Left to right, they are Senator Richard B. Russell, City Attorney J. Ernest Palmour, Jr., and Major Joseph Cooke.

thumbnail of film clip torn032

Film clip torn032 shows Georgia National Guard soldiers patrolling West Broad Street. They have just passed Bob Christopher Garage and are approaching Smith Brothers – the ghostly ruins of Cooper Pants Factory lie in the background, barely visible through the haze. Note the numerous pedestrians, and the extensive debris alongside the street.

The Confederate Monument “Old Joe” after 
    the 1936 tornado. An emblem of an unconquered spirit.

Helping to restore order in the wake of the terrible storm, National Guard soldiers stand guard on the Public Square, near the Confederate monument (nicknamed “Old Joe”) which survived intact, as shown in Vanishing Georgia image hal277.