Top landmarks related to the JFK Assassination events in Dallas
On a sunny November morning in 1963, Air Force One landed at Dallas’ Love Field carrying John F. Kennedy and his entourage. Running a bit behind schedule, the passengers quickly migrated to the presidential motorcade. Three cars began a slow, meandering 10 mile (16 km) course through the city so that the charismatic 35th president had more exposure to the crowd of approximately 200,000 people who lined the route to greet him.
Protectively sandwiched between an unmarked white Ford hardtop carrying Secret Service and law enforcement personnel and a third car carrying presidential aides, President John F. Kennedy, Texas Governor John Connally, and their wives rode in an open-top convertible. Just five minutes away from the Trade Mart, where a luncheon was planned, the motorcade turned in front of the Texas School Book Depository and slowed for the crowds gathered in the grassy area of Dealey Plaza. Shots rang out, leaving the president dead, and American history dramatically altered forever.
Below, we’ve detailed and ranked each spot along the so-called trail to help maximize your visits to these significant Dallas landmarks.
The Texas Theater: 231 W. Jefferson Boulevard
Numerous witness accounts describe Oswald on the run after shooting Officer Tippit. At the intersection of 10th Street and Patton Avenue, taxi driver William Scoggins claimed Oswald, revolver in hand, muttered something along the lines of "Poor dumb cop" as he headed away from the crime scene. After a curious 30 minute period in which his movements cannot be accounted for, he was spotted walking quickly past the storefronts on Jefferson Boulevard.
At around 1:15 p.m., the radio broadcaster announced that another gunshot had been fired, this time at Officer J. D. Tippit, who had stopped a man fitting the assassin's description on West 10th Street, not far from Hardy's Shoe Store.
Shoe salesman Johnny Brewer, who had been listening to the news coverage of the assassination, spotted a cagey Oswald who was pretending to shoe shop while nervously looking outside for potential pursuers. Oswald left the store and darted inside the Texas Theater, which was showing a Friday afternoon matinee of "War is Hell". Johnny Brewer told the box office worker to call the police as he went to the back door in case Oswald snuck out through the alley. Soon a phalanx of officers surrounded the theater. The house lights went up and Oswald was apprehended, but not without a fight. Police claimed he was roughed up after he pulled a pistol(the same one used to shoot Officer Tippit) and tried to fire it(the firing pin apparently jammed). Oswald emerged from the Texas Theatre in handcuffs, with a shiner and claiming police abuse.
Oswald Rooming House: 1026 N Beckley Ave
Oswald didn't stay here long, but this house at 1026 N. Beckley figures prominently in the events of 11/22/63. Just five weeks earlier, he had returned from a fruitless bus trip to Mexico City where he dropped in on Soviet and Cuban consulates and demanded (apparently without success) entry to Cuba to assist the revolution.
He arrived back in Dallas broke, jobless and with his marriage on the rocks. He and his wife, Marina, separated upon Oswald’s return from Mexico. On weekends, Oswald would travel to suburban Irving to Ruth Paine's house to visit Marina, who would give birth to their second daughter on October 20 while the two were still separated. During the week, he stayed at the rooming house.
Using the alias O.H. Lee, Oswald rented a room in the back of this house while working at the Texas School Book Depository. Rent was six dollars a week.
At 1 p.m. on Friday Nov. 22, Earlene Roberts, the residence’s housekeeper, was watching “As The World Turns” when a CBS News bulletin interrupted her soap opera with breaking news about the assassination. . She was interrupted when Oswald burst through the door. It was unusual for him to be home at that time (he worked all day), so she asked why he was in a hurry. He did not respond but went straight to his room. He quickly threw on his white Eisenhower coat, stuffed a .38 revolver in his pocket along with extra ammunition, and was out the door in about five minutes.
Officer Tippit Murder Site: Corner of East 10th Street and South Patton Avenue
15 minutes after Kennedy was shot, officer J. D. Tippit received a radio order to drive to the central Oak Cliff area as part of a concentration of police around the center of the city. At 12:54, Tippit radioed that he had moved as directed. By then, several messages had been broadcast describing a suspect in the shooting at Dealey Plaza as a slender white male, in his early 30s.
Tippit was driving slowly eastward on East 10th Street — about 100 feet (30 m) past the intersection of 10th Street and Patton Avenue — when he pulled alongside a man who resembled the police description. Oswald walked over to Tippit's car and exchanged words with him through an open vent window. Tippit opened his car door and as Tippit walked toward the front of the car, Oswald drew his handgun and fired four shots in rapid succession. Three bullets hit Tippit in the chest, another in his right temple . Tippit's body was transported from the scene of the shooting by ambulance to Methodist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Neely House: 214 W. Neely Street
This house at 214 W. Neely Street has seen better days, but it hasn't met the wrecking ball, yet. From March 2 to April 24, 1963, Oswald lived upstairs with Marina and baby daughter, June, paying $60 per month, plus utilities.
For Marina, the place wasn't much to write home about; in fact, the Spartan living conditions she endured here caused her to rethink her decision to marry Oswald and leave the Soviet Union in the first place. On March 12, Oswald sent off $21.45 for an Italian WWII military surplus Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, plus scope, from a Chicago mail order company advertising in the back of an outdoors magazine. This would be the rifle that was found at the Sixth Floor after the assassination.
It was here in the backyard eight months before the assassination where Oswald persuaded Marina to snap three photos of him posing proudly – dressed in black, rifle in one hand, communist articles in the other, and a holstered handgun on his side. Of those three images, one later appeared on the cover of the February 4 edition of Life magazine; another was found in the possession of George de Mohrenschidt years after the president's death; and the third was found hidden in a book that Ruth Paine returned to Marina after the assassination.
Conspiracy theorists have claimed that differences in the shaded light in the photo indicates that the image was doctored and that Oswald didn’t pose with the rifle, but Marina later confirmed to investigators that she, in fact, took the photo. According to the Warren Commission these photos were taken on a Sunday two weeks before the attempted shooting of the right-wing crackpot Maj. Gen. Edwin Walker on April 10, 1963.
The Grassy Knoll
Just before 12:30, Abraham Zapruder took his 8mm Bell & Howell camera and stood atop the concrete pergola on the grassy knoll. Little did Zapruder realize that he was about to capture the most watched piece of film footage in American history - the assassination of president Kennedy .
This small, unassuming lawn that lays on the northern end of Dealey Plaza, didn’t even have a name until the tragic events of Nov. 22, 1963. In the moments after the shots rang out, some ran up the lawn in search of the shooters. Others claimed to have seen suspicious people behind the picket fence before and during the assassination. Among them was Lee Bowers, an employee of the Union Terminal Company, who was working in the signal tower just north of the grassy knoll. Lee told the Warren Commission that he saw - “a flash of light or smoke or something which caused me to feel like something out of the ordinary had occurred there."
From that moment on, the words “Grassy Knoll” have forever been known as a metaphor for suspicion, conspiracy and cover-up.
The Sixth Floor Museum: 411 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75202
At roughly 8 am the morning of Nov 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald stepped out of the passenger seat of Buell Frazier’s car and headed into the front door of the Texas School Book Depository. Tucked under his arm was a large brown paper bag...
The site of the former Texas School Book Depository where Oswald worked is now the Sixth Floor Museum that attracts over a million visitors a year. By far the museum’s most interesting feature is the replica of the sniper’s nest where Oswald allegedly fired upon Kennedy’s passing motorcade. From here a visitor to the museum can get an eerie view of exactly what Oswald saw that day.