Dealey Plaza

Dealey Plaza Historic District
Dealey Plaza 2003.jpg
View from southwest, with the former Texas School Book Depository building at left, Dal-Tex Building in center, and the Dallas County Records Annex at right
Dealey Plaza Historic District is located in Texas
Dealey Plaza Historic District
Dealey Plaza Historic District
Dealey Plaza Historic District is located in the US
Dealey Plaza Historic District
Dealey Plaza Historic District
LocationRoughly bounded by Pacific Ave., Market St., Jackson St. and right of way of Dallas Right of Way Management Company, Dallas, Texas
Coordinates32°46′42″N 96°48′26″W / 32°46′42″N 96°48′26″W / 32.77833; -96.80722
Area15 acres (6.1 ha)
Built1890 (1890)
ArchitectMultiple
Architectural styleChicago, Early Commercial, Romanesque
NRHP reference #93001607[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPApril 19, 1993[1]
Designated NHLDOctober 12, 1993[2][3]

Dealey Plaza / is a city park in the West End district of downtown Dallas, Texas. It is sometimes called the "birthplace of Dallas". It also was the location of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, on November 22, 1963. The Dealey Plaza Historic District was named a National Historic Landmark in 1993 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 assassins.[2][3]

National Historic Landmark

The Dealey Plaza Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1993 and designated a National Historic Landmark the same year. The former county courthouse is individually listed on the National Register and is also designated a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL) and a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL). Additional properties within the district are also RTHLs. The following are contributing properties and other significant buildings within the historic district.:[3]:28

Contributing buildings
  • 6895, 1981), 411 Elm St. — Now known as the Dallas County Administration Building, this seven-story structure is where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal shot killing President Kennedy from the sixth-floor window at the building's southeastern corner at N. Houston St. The 1901 building houses the Sixth Floor Museum.[3]:11–16
  • Dal-Tex Building and Annex, 501 Elm St. — This seven-story building sits immediately east across N. Houston St. from the Texas School Book Depository and is cater-corner from Dealey Plaza. The 1902 building has a three-story annex on the north to Pacific Ave. and was constructed in 1904.[3]:17–18

  • Dallas County Records Building (RTHL #6668, 1985), 509 Main St. — The original Records Building occupies half of the city block between Elm and Main along what was formerly Record St. now part of Founders Plaza to the east. The building features cut limestone with Gothic detailing and was completed in 1928.[3]:19
  • Dallas County Records Building Annex, 500 Elm St. — The 1955 annex to the Records Building has its primary facade along Elm St. facing the Dal-Tex Building. The seven-story annex occupies the northwest quadrant of the block holding the original building, and it overlooks Dealey Plaza across N. Houston St. to the west. The building holds a loading dock to the south.[3]:19

  • Dallas County Criminal Courts Building (RTHL #6667, 1986), 501 Main St. — The Criminal Courts Building is a Renaissance Revival ediface of eight stories constructed between 1913 and 1915. Its primary facade faces Main St., and it has a secondary facade facing N. Houston St. and Dealey Plaza. It is on the southwest quadrant of the block immediately adjacent to the original Records Building and separated from the Records Annex by the annex's loading dock.[3]:20
Old Dallas County Courthouse
  • 6811, 1977), 100 S. Houston St. — The Romanesque Revival courthouse building was constructed between 1890 and 1892 as the county's sixth courthouse. The building is situated on the east side of S. Houston St. directly across from Dealey Plaza on the block between Main and Commerce. Also known as the "Old Red Courthouse", it is constructed of Pecos red sandstone and Little Rock blue granite. The three-story building features two 118-foot (36 m) columns of Texas granite at each of the four entrances with a central 118-foot (36 m) main column. The building now houses the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture.[3]:20–22
  • United States Post Office Terminal Annex, 207 S. Houston St. — This structure of subdued Art Deco and Classical styles was constructed in 1937 as a New Deal public works project. The public entrances and primary facade are along the west side of S. Houston St. between Commerce and Jackson. The rear of the building features loading bays along the railroad line as bulk mail was primarily transported by rail during the building's earlier decades. Similar loading bays for freight trucks line the building's south side. The lobby of the five-story building features two large murals by artist Peter Hurd. The building now houses federal government offices.[3]:22–23
  • Union Terminal Company Interlocking Tower, near Pacific Ave. in railroad yard — This two-story concrete tower covered with white-painted stucco was constructed in 1916. The building is in the rail yard west of the School Book Depository, and features a hipped roof with wide overhangs. The first floor is accessed from the east and stored mechanical equipment. The second floor is reached by a stairs from the south and held a central switching console and windows overlooking all sides.[3]:24–25
Contributing sites
Street mark at Assassination Site
  • Kennedy Assassination Site, Elm St. between N. Houston St. and the Triple Underpass — A white "X" on the Elm St. pavement marks the spot where President Kennedy was fatally shot.
  • Missouri, Kansas, & Texas (MKT) Railroad Yards, West of N. Houston St. between Elm St. and Pacific Ave. — Six railroad tracks running from north to south converge into four at the Triple Underpass. Five curved rail spurs have since been removed and replaced with parking. The yard, which extends west and north of the School Book Depository, includes the Interlocking Tower and a small office or shed.[3]:23–25
Contributing structures
  • Reflecting pools and colonnades, Dealey Plaza along Houston St. — Two reflecting pools extend along Houston St. within the plaza with each extending from Main St. to the edges of the plaza. Both pools are rectangular on their ends near Main and oval-shaped at their ends along the edges. Curved concrete colonnades with pylons at the ends run along the west of each reflecting pool. Concrete planters holding oak trees are placed between the pools and the colonnades. East from the planter box on the north side of Main St. is a tall, graduated obelisk. Immediately west of the obelisk is a bronze bas relief marker mounted on red granite illustrating President Kennedy's visit to Dallas.[3]:6,9
  • Pergolas, Dealey Plaza along Elm and Commerce streets — Two concrete columnar pergolas, one north of Elm St. and the other south of Commerce St., symmetrically gate the portion of Dealey Plaza where Elm and Commerce converge toward Main St. as they approach the Triple Underpass. Both pergolas are reached by broad steps ascending the grassy inclines approaching from the streets. The Elm St. pergola, located adjacent to the Grassy Knoll, has a historical marker honoring John Neely Bryan, Dallas' founder. The Commerce St. pergola has a marker describing the pioneer Cockrell family. Cedar fencing in the vicinity of both pergolas originally separated Dealey Plaza from surrounding properties, but these are best preserved at the Bryan pergola where the fencing was restored in 1988.[3]:7,8
  • Triple Underpass, west edge of Dealey Plaza at convergence of Elm, Main, and Commerce streets — This unpainted concrete railroad overpass was constructed by the Works Progress Administration along with the other original amenities of Dealey Plaza. The Art Deco-styled facility features square balusters and square columns reminiscent of other structures within the park.[3]:6
Contributing objects
  • Dealey Statue, 101 S. Houston St. — The Dealey Statue, featuring the likeness of the plaza's namesake George Dealey, is located on the south side of the Main St. entrance to the plaza along Houston St. The bronze statue replaced an obelisk in 1949 that was originally paired with the existing obelisk across Main St. to the north. The statue was sculpted in 1948 by Felix de Weldon and is mounted atop a tall red granite plinth. Behind the statue is a red granite slab with four bronze bas relief tablets consistent in appearance to the Kennedy marker behind the north obelisk. The tablets describe Dealey's professional and community accomplishments.[3]:6–7
Kennedy Memorial
  • Kennedy Memorial and Plaza, 600 Main St. — The Kennedy Memorial and Plaza is located between Main St. and Commerce St. west of S. Market St. The 1969 memorial is located within the middle of a plaza on the eastern half of a double block it shares with the former county courthouse due to the previous closure of Record St. The memorial plaza sits above an underground parking structure and includes trees and benches around the memorial. The Kennedy Memorial is a cenotaph designed by architect Philip Johnson featuring a 50-by-50-foot (15 m) open space with 30-foot (9.1 m) vertically scored concrete walls. Two narrow openings extend to the top in the middle of the north and south walls. In the center of the memorial is a square 8-foot (2.4 m) black granite slap with the president's name engraved in gold.[3]:26

Dealey Plaza and all of the contributing buildings are part of the 78002918, 1978; H/2, 1975[4]) with the single exception of the U.S. Post Office Terminal Annex which is outside of the boundaries of that district. The Kennedy Memorial and Plaza is the only contributing property not in existence at the time of the assassination nor in view of its site.[5]:11–14

Non-contributing buildings
  • Sixth Floor Museum Visitor Center Building, N. Houston St. adjacent to Texas School Book Depository — The Visitor Center is a one-story brick building north of the School Book Depository extending along N. Houston St. toward Pacific Ave. The building, constructed in 1989, is designed to mimic the materials and architectural elements of the School Book Depository from which it is connected with a stone and glass hyphen. A free-standing brick elevator tower connects the center to the Sixth Floor Museum in the depository building. The building is out of view from the assassination site, but it does have an open porch overlooking the Grassy Knoll.[3]:17
  • Railroad Office/Shed, near Pacific Ave. east of Interlocking Tower — This is a small one-story brick building constructed after the 1989 demolition of a predecessor that was erected at some point between 1930 and 1950 near the same location.[3]:24 The previous structure was listed as a compatible, but not a contributing property within the Westend District.[5]:12
Other Languages
català: Dealey Plaza
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Ελληνικά: Ντίλι Πλάζα
español: Plaza Dealey
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italiano: Dealey Plaza
português: Dealey Plaza
Simple English: Dealey Plaza
svenska: Dealey Plaza
中文: 迪利广场