A Guide to the History of Dallas, Texas

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Historic Dealey Plaza Timeline

Dealey Plaza Birthplace of Dallas plaque

November 1841 Dallas founder John Neely Bryan camps on bluff overlooking Trinity River, on site of present-day Dealey Plaza.
March 1842 Dallas founder John Neely Bryan and others construct a log cabin, the first house in Dallas, on site of present-day Dealey Plaza.
1844 First survey of Dallas town lots includes area now encompassed by Dealey Plaza.
March 3, 1910 Allen Brooks, an elderly African-American accused of rape, is lynched at the Dallas County Courthouse, by a mob who tie a rope around his neck and throw him from a second-story window. Afterward, his apparently lifeless body is dragged through the streets and hung from a lamppost near the Elks Arch erected in 1908. No one is every prosecuted for this act of violence.
December 1934 Work begins on Triple Underpass with razing of buildings.
Sept. 19, 1935 Park Board unanimously votes to name underpass park Dealey Plaza in honor of Dallas Morning News publisher George Bannerman Dealey.
Jan. 1, 1936 Dallas Morning News announces that Robert E. Lee equestrian statue, originally planned for Dealey Plaza, will be placed in Oak Lawn Park instead and that $18,000 in WPA (Works Progress Administration) funds is being sought to pay for its base.
May 1, 1936 New Triple Underpass dedicated. Final cost: $1 million (of which the federal government funded half).
August 1936 Dallas City Council officially passes legal authority for Dealey Plaza over to Park Board, which has been maintaining the site since the Triple Underpass was completed.
Feb. 18, 1937 Dallas Morning News announces that NYA (National Youth Administration) beautification project, drafted by Texas Centennial Exposition chief architect George Dahl, will go ahead at a cost of $10,000. Plans include construction of two 25 foot high vertical shafts on either side of Main Street along with two identical 20 foot x 130 foot reflecting pools alongside Houston Street. Work to be completed by July 1, 1937.
Feb. 3, 1940 Dallas Morning News announces that Dallas Park Board is seeking approval from the WPA (Works Projects Administration) for a $92,298 beautification project for Dealey Plaza, designed by Kansas City landscape architects Hare and Hare.
March 10, 1940 Work begins on Hare and Hare's Dealey Plaza beautification project, funded by the WPA.
July 21, 1940 A photo in the Dallas Morning News shows a concrete pergola being constructed on one side of Dealey Plaza. The paper announces that an identical structure will be built on the opposite side of the park and that twin peristyles will be constructed "behind each of the two present reflecting pools." Nov. 1, 1940 is the projected completion date.
Nov. 14, 1949 A 12 foot high statue of the late Dallas Morning News publisher George B. Dealey, sculpted by Felix de Weldon at a cost of $19,000, is dedicated at Dealey Plaza. The 3 ton statue stands on a granite base inside which a metal box, containing documents "relating to the life of G. B. Dealey," was placed a few days earlier. Four bronze bas-reliefs "symbolic of Dealey's life interests" (also the work of de Weldon) have been erected in a semicircle behind the statue.
September 13, 1960 A motorcade bearing Democratic presidential hopeful Senator John F. Kennedy and his running mate, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, arrives at Dealey Plaza after traveling from Fort Worth. Kennedy and Johnson are met by a marching band and thousands of supporters at Main and Houston, from where they proceed to Memorial Auditorium. There, JFK gives a speech from the same spot where Republican nominee Richard M. Nixon spoke less than 24 hours earlier.
November 22, 1963 While riding in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza President John F. Kennedy is shot and mortally wounded by an assassin while his limousine is traveling west on Elm Street just below the Texas School Book Depository. Texas Governor John Connally is gravely wounded but survives.
July 3, 1977 Recreated Kennedy assassination in Dealey Plaza is filmed for ABC's made-for-TV movie "The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald," starring actors Ben Gazzara, Lorne Greene, and John Pleshette in the title role.
February 20, 1989 The Sixth Floor Museum, housed in the former Texas School Book Depository, is offically opened to the public for the first time.
April 17, 1991 Hollywood director Oliver Stone films recreated Kennedy assassination in Dealey Plaza for his forthcoming movie "JFK," starring actor Kevin Costner as New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.
August 3 and 4, 1991 Recreated Kennedy assassination in Dealey Plaza is filmed for forthcoming movie "Ruby," starring actor Danny Aiello in the title role.
November 22, 1993 At a public ceremony attended by Nellie Connally, widow of the late Governor John Connally and a passenger in the limousine in which President Kennedy was riding when assassinated, Dealey Plaza is declared a National Historic Landmark.
November 22, 2003 Elm Street from Houston Street to the Triple Underpass is blocked to regular traffic for the 40th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.

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