One of the deadliest tornadoes in American history hit Gainesville, Georgia on April 6, 1936. And Lewis Reed was there to capture the aftermath. On the 80th anniversary of this epic tornado, I have posted seven original snippets of history that Lewis Reed captured through the lens of his camera that day.
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.
Take a look at some of the sobering aftermath photos of the deadliest tornado to ever hit Georgia … through the lens of Lewis Reed. (click on images for slide show)
Source: Wikipedia – 1936 Tupelo–Gainesville tornado outbreak
One of the things I enjoy doing is looking through all of the old photographs in my grandfather’s albums and trying to figure out who and what they are. Unfortunately, the majority of the photos are more than 100 years old and do not come neatly labeled on the back with names, dates, people or places. Anyway, I came across this cool looking car and thought it would be fun to try and identify it, so I went on a quest. The only real clue I had to go on was the “S” on the front of the car.
After some digging, my research has identified the car as a circa 1910 or 1911 Speedwell Touring car — pictured just below is a fully restored 1911 Speedwell Series 11 50HP. Looks the same to me. What do you think?
The Speedwell Motor Car Company was an early United States automobile manufacturing company that produced cars from 1907 to 1914. In 1910, the Speedwell cars and the Wright aircraft were produced in the same factory building. Powering the cars was a Speedwell four-cylinder motor that offered 50 horsepower, making it more than capable of sustaining high speeds. The exterior designs of the Speedwell automobiles were inspired from multiple parts of the automotive industry. Speedwell declared bankruptcy in 1915.
Source: Wikipedia – Speedwell Motor Car Company
In 1918, the Gulf Refining Co. adopted a brick and tile roof station with canopy supported by four brick columns covering two front driveways. “That Good Gulf” was one of the Company’s marketing slogans for a number of years during the twenties and thirties.
Below are architectural changes in the Reed Brothers Dodge front that can be seen in the photos below taken in the late 1920s. A second story was added to the showroom with a glazed front looking out onto Rockville Pike on the right. A modern drive-through canopy was also added along with new gasoline pumps and Dodge Car and Truck signage. (click on images to enlarge)
According to the Gulf Oil Company, the early history of the company from 1909-19 is as follows. “When Gulf was born in 1901 with an oil discovery in Spindletop, Texas, the primary commercial fuel was coal. By 1903, the age of mechanization had arrived and it was now up to the petroleum industry to keep pace, for the age could not proceed without it. Gasoline development, into which Gulf invested millions of dollars, responded to advances in automotive technology. Within a dozen years of Spindletop, Gulf scored notable firsts with the world’s first service station, complimentary Gulf road maps and over water drilling at Ferry Lake. In 1917, the Gulfstream went into World War I service, along with the rest of Gulf’s tanker fleet.”
Forget Valentine’s, Happy Ferris Wheel Day!
Did you know that February 14th is not only Valentine’s Day, but also Ferris Wheel Day? This unofficial national holiday is held on this day to honor the birth of the inventor of the Ferris Wheel, George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. What better way to celebrate Ferris Wheel Day than enjoying this old photograph of the Ferris Wheel taken at the Rockville Fairgrounds, courtesy of Lewis Reed. The fairgrounds were just outside Rockville, about where Richard Montgomery High School is today. The Fair lasted four days, from August 21st to the 24th, and drew visitors from local counties, Washington, and Baltimore.
For the singles and the “enough already with the Valentines”, here is your perfect alternative excuse. Go wish all your friends and family a Happy Ferris Wheel Day!