A historic week came to a close Tuesday night as survivors of the 1936 tornado once again shared their memories of that fateful April morning when Gainesville fell to ruins.
Robert Garcia said it's just evil luck that brought a tornado crashing onto Gainesville the morning of April 6, 1936.
Seventy-five years after a tornado decimated Gainesville, the town is ready to pay tribute to those it killed.
Hall County librarians didn't realize the significance of the VHS tape they held in their hands.
Richard Smith was playing in the schoolyard when the 1936 tornado flattened most of Gainesville.
The 1936 tornado moved east out of Gainesville, taking with it dirt and trees and the makings of a small city. As it passed across the South, dropping on other towns and eventually dissipating into the skies, it scattered parts of Gainesville across its path.
They hung from the rooftops and waved flags from window ledges, the men and women packed on street corners pressing on one another's shoulders, begging for a glimpse.
Word slowly seeped down the dirt roads, details of the storm that had swept away Gainesville. After a few uneasy days, 14-year-old Elizabeth Westbrook Smith traveled the 10 miles to town and saw the devastation herself. In the 75 years since, the images from that trip have not been easily shaken. "It was just a mass of charred flesh," said now 89-year-old Elizabeth with a solemn hush, reliving a memory no child should have been ...
The scar has faded but never disappeared, a dark purple smudge among the age spots and lines on Cleburn Patterson's left leg.
He would have been in that convertible, the one covered in bricks and stained with blood. But Jim DeLong decided to walk to school that day. On the morning of April 6, he turned down a ride and headed through the square with his brother and a friend. The darkness came in like a shroud. The black of the funnel - the beams and nails and shingles and soot that twisted around its core - ...
They were just babes, but the tornado became their first memory, shocked into the soul at tender ages when recollections are meant to be blurred and gold and light.
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