It was one of the worst weather-related disasters in Georgia history. The tornado that struck Gainesville on this day in 1936 was part of a devastating outbreak of 17 tornadoes across the South. And it wasn’t the first for Gainesville- another tornado killed more than 100 people in January 1903.
In 1936, two F4 tornadoes tore through the heart of town, destroying much of the business district and the county courthouse, trapping hundreds in debris, before moving on to surrounding neighborhoods. The funnel fueled fires all over the area, including the Cooper Pants manufacturing company, where 60 employees were killed. The storm left more than 200 dead, 1,600 injured, 2,000 homeless and millions of dollars in damage. President Franklin Roosevelt toured the city three days later, and returned in 1938 to rededicate the courthouse and city hall after a massive citywide rebuilding effort.
One of the deadliest tornadoes in American history hit Gainesville on April 6, 1936, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.