Georgia Historical Society to Dedicate Historical Marker for Cooper Pants Factory and the Gainesville Tornado

Savannah, Ga., October 29, 2014 – The Georgia Historical society announced today that they will dedicate a new Historical Marker, this Thursday, October 30 for the Cooper Pants Factory and the Gainesville Tornado of 1936. The marker dedication will be held 2:00 p.m. at 315 Broad Street, SW in Gainesville, GA.

Speakers for the event will include Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan, and Elyse Butler, Membership and Outreach Associate for the Georgia Historical Society. Additional remarks will be given by Gartland Reynolds who will offer a historical perspective of the Cooper Pants Factory and tragedy.

An on-site reception will follow the unveiling and reading of the historical marker. The public is invited to attend.

The Marker Reads:

Cooper Pants Factory
and the Gainesville Tornado

On April 6, 1936, one of the nation’s deadliest tornadoes struck Gainesville. The resulting collapse of the multi-story Cooper Pants Factory building, located on this site since c.1893, caused a devastating fire. Flames trapped over half the factory’s 125 employees, primarily young women and girls. As many as 70 workers died in the fire – the largest single contributor to over 200 deaths associated with the tornado that day. In addition to local resources and donations, President Franklin Roosevelt quickly involved New Deal agencies in the city’s recovery. Rebuilding of Gainesville focused on providing better paved streets and the construction of a new fire station, courthouse and city hall – forerunners of modern fire safety compliant structures. The tornado and Cooper Pants Factory fire also encouraged the adoption and enforcement of new building codes to minimize the risk of large-scale devastation.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society and the City of Gainesville