This decorative peristyle and obelisk were built in 1940 by the WPA (Works Projects Administration). The reflecting pool was constructed earlier, in 1937, by the NYA (National Youth Administration). Both these were temporary "New Deal" public works agencies legislated into existence to help alleviate unemployment during the Great Depression.
A large bronze plaque, inset in a low marble wall behind the obelisk, reads as follows:
On November 22, 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, thirty-fifth President of the United States, visited Dallas. A presidential parade traveled north on Houston Street to Elm Street and west on Elm Street. As the parade continued on Elm Street at 12:30 p.m., rifle shots wounded the President and Texas Governor John Connally.
Findings of the Warren Commission indicated that the rifle shots were fired from a sixth floor window near the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository, Elm and Houston, a block north of this marker.
President Kennedy expired at Parkland Hospital at 1:00 p.m. The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial Plaza is nearby, bounded by Main, Record, Market, and Commerce streets.
An adjacent bronze plaque displays a map of Dealey Plaza and its environs.
Few visitors are aware that Dallas' very first house, a log cabin built in 1842, stood in the area immediately behind this peristyle, until it (the cabin) was washed away or damaged by a flood. The Trinity River, which now lies behind levees, once passed near the city where the Triple Underpass now exists.