Roosevelt Square was named for President Franklin D. Roosevelt who visited Gainesville on April 9, 1936 and pledged support to rebuild downtown just three days after a deadly tornado ripped through the downtown square.
A new "Civic Center" was designed and built by the Public Works Administration. It included the Federal Building on one block; a County Courthouse on the next block; and a City Hall on the next block.* President Roosevelt returned in March 1938 to dedicate the new "Civic Center;" and the "Roosevelt Memorial Monument" was unveiled before the many thousands that attended.
*Norton, W. L. (2001). Chapter III/The Great Tornado. In Historic Gainesville & Hall County: An Illustrated History (pp. 60–61). Historical Pub. Network.