Monday, November 22, 2010

Dealey Plaza

Dealey Plaza in the historic West End district of downtown Dallas, Texas (U.S.), is the location of the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The Dealey Plaza Historic District was named a National Historic Landmark in 1993 to preserve Dealey Plaza.

Dealey Plaza was completed in 1940 as a WPA project on the west edge of downtown Dallas where three streets converge (Main Street, Elm Street, and Commerce Street) to pass under a railroad bridge known locally as the triple underpass. The plaza is named for George Bannerman Dealey (1859–1946), an early publisher of the Dallas Morning News and civic leader, and the man who had campaigned for the area's revitalization. Many believe the monuments outlining the plaza are there to honor President Kennedy, but they actually honor previous prominent Dallas residents and predate President Kennedy's visit by many years. The actual Dallas monument to Kennedy, in the form of a cenotaph, is located one block away. Dealey Plaza is historically known as the site of the first Masonic temple in Dallas (now razed), and there is a marker attesting to this fact in the plaza.

Dealey Plaza is bounded on the south, east, and north sides by 100+ foot (30+ m) tall buildings. 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 John F. Kennedy. There is also a grassy knoll on the northwest side of the plaza, from which, the House Select Committee on Assassinations determined, based on controversial and disputed acoustic analysis, there was a "high probability" that a second gunman also fired at President Kennedy, but missed. At the plaza's west perimeter is a triple underpass beneath a railroad bridge, under which the motorcade raced after the shots were fired.

Today, the plaza is typically filled with tourists visiting the assassination site and The Sixth Floor Museum that now occupies the top two floors of the seven story former Book Depository. Since 1989, more than 5 million people have visited the museum.

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