A Guide to the History of Dallas, Texas

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A Tour of Historic Dealey Plaza

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Former Texas School Book Depository

Former Texas School Book DepositoryOn November 22, 1963, alleged assassination Lee Harvey Oswald is said to have fired three shots from a sixth floor window of the former Texas School Book Depository Building as President John F. Kennedy's motorcade passed below on Elm Street. At least two of the shots struck the president, wounding him mortally. At that time, Oswald was an employee of the depository, a warehouse where textbooks for local schools were stored prior to distribution.

The seven-story structure, located on the northwest corner of Elm and Houston streets, stands on the site of a wagon-making yard established in 1850 by French-born Dallas pioneer Maxime Guillot. It originally housed the southwestern branch office of the Southern Rock Island Plow Company, one of several farm implement companies whose late 19th and early 20th century warehouses today make up the West End historical district. In the early 1900s the Racine-Sattley Company, a manufacturer of carriages and farm implements, also had a branch office in the building.

At the time of the Kennedy assassination a large Hertz Rent-a-Car advertising sign stood atop the structure. It has since been removed.

Today the 100-foot square building houses county offices and the Sixth Floor Museum, which is dedicated to telling the story of Kennedy's presidency and the assassination in a tasteful and respectful manner. Museum visitors enter a first floor lobby in the rear of the building, from which they take an elevator directly to the sixth floor. An elevator shaft, made of matching brick, was constructed at the building's rear especially for that purpose and so as not to harm its structural integrity or detract from its historical appearance.

There is no doubt this is one of the most heavily visited and most photographed landmarks in Dallas.

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