Cordele, GA Tornado Strikes Coast, Apr 1936

Downtown Cordele GA.





Cordele, Ga., April 2 -- (AP) -- Spring wind and rain storms killed an estimated forty persons in the southeast today, and caused more than $1,000,000 property damage, with the major loss centered at this south Georgia city.
"At least thirty-three were killed in Cordele," City Manager JOHN BROWN said, "eight white persons and twenty-five Negroes."
Rescue agencies swung into action immediately, proceeding to the scene by train and over raindrenched highways.
Seven storm deaths were reported elsewhere in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.
Improvised Hospital.
A new baseball stadium, dedicated only yesterday, was converted into a hospital to take care of those unable to find room at other Cordele hospitals.
R. L. DEKLE, an undertaker, said seven bodies had been taken from splintered homes.
"Ambulances, trucks and other motor vehicles are being pressed into service to bring in the dead, injured and dying."
"From the appearance of the mangled victims, it is amazing that the death toll is as low as it has been."
Two infantry companies and five doctors of the Georgia national guard were dispatched to Cordele by orders of Governor Eugene Talmadge to provide for the refugees and aid the injured.
Other Deaths Reported.
Besides the number estimated by BROWN to have been killed here, other deaths were reported as follows:
Lee county, Whitfield county, Terrell county, one each; Wilkes county, two; near Hampton, S. C., one; and Gordo, Ala., one.
The dead in Cordele as reported by BROWN, DEKLE and others:
BILL BRASWELL, 43, oil company employee.
MRS. W. F. MIMS of primitive Baptist church.
MRS. PAUL LEWIS, 45, wife of a farmer, at Tenia, near here.
L. J. CROZIER, 60, workman.
W. T. STEPHENS, 60, workman.
Two Unidentified White Men.
Unidentified White Woman.
Twenty five Negroes.
25 Homes Splintered.
C. A. POUND of the Cordele Dispatch, after a tour of the finest residential section, said 25 of the best homes were "splintered by the wind, just as if a big charge of dynamite had been exploded in them."
City Manager BROWN estimated the injured at "between 300 and 400 persons."
"Both the senior and junior high school buildings were practically destroyed," he said, "but luckily the blow struck before the hour for school to start."
The twister hit the southwestern part of town, populated mostly by negroes, and ripped through town toward the northeast. There was practically little damage in the business section, the tragedy having taken its major toll in the residential areas.
The tornadoes came with heavy rains which raised southeastern rivers to threatening proportions.

Jefferson City Post-Tribune Missouri 1936-04-02


Cordele, Ga., April 3. -- (AP) -- Cordele and Greensboro, N. C., led the way today in clearing wreckage left by vicious spring storms which killed at leas 40 persons yesterday in a haphazard tour of destruction across the southeast.
Of the ten or so communities scouged by tornadic winds, this town of nearly 7,000 population suffered the most. Eighteen were killed, about 500 injured and property damage roughly set at $1,250,000 was done as a twister smashed 300 buildings in its two-mile drive through two residential sections.
After centering its fury here at dawn, the storm pursued an erratic course north and east, inflicting widespread damage but failing to take many lives until it descended in full force at Greensboro early last night.
The North Carolina town reported 11 known dead, scores injured and damage past the $1,000,000 mark after the tornado had levelled scores of buildings.
Georgia Counts 25 Dead.
Georgia counted 25 dead today. North Carolina stood next with a death list of 12 white along the fringes of the storm area. Florida, Alabama and South Carolina reported one fatality each.
Yesterday's tragedies brought the southeast's 1936 storm deaths to 55. Seventeen persons perished in disturbances centering in northwest Florida some weeks ago.
Other areas reporting deaths from wind included Tignall, in northeast Georgia, 3; Sasser, Ga., 1; Gordo, Ala., 1; Danburg-Flora Hill community, Georgia, 1; Hampton, S. C., 1; and Leesburg, Ga. 1.
Lightning attendant on severe rainstorms which drenched the entire southeast claimed a life at Appalachicola, Fla., and another at Bald Springs, Ga.
Concord Badly Damaged.
Communities reporting extensive property damage with injuries but not fatalities included, Vidalia, Ga., Concord, N. C., Washington, Ga., Lincoln, Ga. At Concord loss of electric power forced temporary shutdowns in several large textile mills.
The tornado which raked Greensboro hammered through a mixed residential and business section southwest of the central commercial area. A cigar plant and overall factory were among the business structures damaged by the wind.
This central Georgia town set itself to the Gargantuan task today of rehabilitating one-sixth of its area.
Twin threats of disease and water pollution added to the problems facing combined relief agencies of the federal government, city and county. More than 1,000 persons both white and negro, were homeless.
Relief workers and convicts slowly dug away the wreckage in the stricken area, three blocks wide and two miles long.
Hospitals were crowded. Hotels were pressed into service by medical officers. Not a room was available in town.
Vaccine Rushed.
Typhoid and tetanus vaccine in wholesale quantities was rushed into the city. All injured persons were treated with the anti-toxin. Everyone who had not received typhoid vaccine, whether injured or unhurt was urged by Dr. C. D. Bowdon, of the state health department to be inoculated at once.

The Daily Times-News Burlington North Carolina 1936-04-03