Dealey Plaza – Dallas, Texas

Dealey Plaza is a public park in Dallas, Texas, best known as the location where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, fired on by a sniper from the Texas School Book Depository. A museum focusing on Kennedy and the assassination now occupies the former depository, and there are various remembrances around the plaza.

Dealey Plaza is a city park in the West End Historic District of downtown Dallas, Texas. It is sometimes called the “birthplace of Dallas”. It was also the location of the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963; 30 minutes after the shooting, Kennedy was pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital. The Dealey Plaza Historic District was named a National Historic Landmark on the 30th anniversary of the assassination, to preserve Dealey Plaza, street rights-of-way, and buildings and structures by the plaza visible from the assassination site, that have been identified as witness locations or as possible locations for the assassin.

Hailed as “The Front Door of Dallas,” Dealey Plaza served as the major gateway to the city from the west and, equally important, as a symbol of civic pride. In November 1963, that focus changed when President Kennedy was assassinated in the heart of the plaza. Instantly, the cradle of Dallas’s history became known as an internationally recognized murder site.

Grief-stricken citizens began to bring flowers and mementos to Dealey Plaza within hours of the assassination. These were the first acts in the transformation of the area into an unofficial memorial site to honor the slain president.

Dealey Plaza is bounded on the south, east, and north sides by buildings at least 100 feet (30 m) tall. One of those buildings is the former Texas School Book Depository building, from which, both the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded, Lee Harvey Oswald fired a rifle that killed President Kennedy; 30 minutes after the shooting, Kennedy died at Parkland Memorial Hospital. There is also a grassy knoll on the northwest side of the plaza. At the plaza’s west perimeter is a triple underpass beneath a railroad bridge, under which the motorcade raced after the shots were fired.

Over more than half a century, Elm Street has been resurfaced several times; street lane stripes have been relocated; sidewalk lamp posts have been moved and added; trees, bushes, and hedges have grown; and some traffic sign locations have been changed, relocated, or removed. On November 22, 2003, the 40th anniversary of the assassination, the city of Dallas approved construction project plans to restore Dealey Plaza to its exact appearance on November 22, 1963. The first phase of the restoration, which cost $700,000 for repair work and plumbing along Houston Streets, was completed on November 22, 2008, the 45th anniversary.

Today, the plaza is typically visited daily by tourists. The Sixth Floor Museum now occupies the top two floors of the seven-story former Book Depository. Since 1989, more than six million people have visited the museum.


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