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Dealey Plaza

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1940, Hare and Hare. 400 Main St.

Included in the Kessler Plan of 1909–1912 were flood control levees on the Trinity River and grade separations of rail and automobile traffic. Near the site of Dallas’s founding, these measures combined to form a new, grand entrance to the city as envisioned by G. B. Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News and chair of the Kessler Plan Association, in whose honor the project was named. The three principal east–west downtown streets come together beyond Houston Street to pass under the rail viaduct (completed in 1936) and cross the relocated and straightened Trinity River and its floodway on the Commerce Street viaduct. The top of the former river bluff along Houston Street is accented by a pair of linear reflecting pools with fountains and colonnades in a modern classic style.

The course of history and Dallas’s civic self-image was forever changed on Elm Street in front of the Dallas County Building (1901; Texas School Book Depository, Southern Rock Island Plow Company Building) at 411 Elm Street, when, on November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy from his sniper’s nest on the sixth floor as the president’s motorcade headed west toward the underpass (and an awaiting luncheon at the Trade Mart). The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (1988, Hendricks and Calloway) tells the story of Kennedy’s life and death.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Dealey Plaza", [Dallas, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 144-144.

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