The former Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, Texas, stands as one of the most famous buildings in the state. Now known as the Dallas County Administration Building, it is infamous for being the site where President John F. Kennedy’s alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was positioned in November 1963. Since its initial construction in the late 1890s, the building has housed many companies.

Dallas County Administration Building
Original Texas School Depository Building
1901, Dallas city directory

Early History and Construction

In 1898, the original building was constructed by the Rock Island Plow Company, which had purchased the land in 1894 for $9,000. However, in 1901, lightning struck the building, causing it to burn down. The current structure was then built on the same foundation, this time featuring seven stories.

Southern Rock Island Plow Company
Rock Island Plow Company

A Variety of Tenants

Throughout the years, the building hosted various businesses. In 1937, the Perfection-Aire air conditioning company began leasing space. By 1941, Chicago-based grocery wholesale company John Sexton & Co. used it as a distribution center.

Texas School Book Depository
Construction of the exterior elevator shaft, 1988.

The Infamous Year of 1963

The Texas School Book Depository Company leased the building in 1963. On October 16th of that year, Lee Harvey Oswald started working for the company. Just over a month later, on November 22nd, Oswald allegedly assassinated President Kennedy from the sixth floor. Following the assassination, Oswald was arrested and charged with the murder of both President Kennedy and Dallas Officer J.D. Tippit. Oswald’s palm prints were found on the rifle, which he supposedly hid behind a stack of boxes.

Transition to a Museum

In 1977, the government of Dallas County purchased the building and began renovations. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza opened in 1988, and the seventh floor was added as a gallery in 2002. Today, the sixth-floor window is sealed off and surrounded by boxes arranged almost as they were in 1963.

Texas historical marker for the Texas School Book Depository
Texas School Book Depository Building in 2019.
James W Altgans photograph of the motorcade during the assassination.
Sixth floor sniper window.
Dallas County Administration Building entrance in 2019.

Dealey Plaza: A Historic Landmark

The former Texas School Book Depository is located in Dealey Plaza, a National Historic Landmark. Dealey Plaza is also where the first home in Dallas was built, making it a significant historical site and often considered the birthplace of Dallas.

Texas School Book Depository

Last Updated on July 4, 2024 by F. E. Mufute

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