Texas School Book Depository: A Historical Landmark

Texas School Book Depository

If you are a historian, or have a passion for events that shaped America into what it is today, the Texas School Book Depository is a stop that every Dallas local and each visitor to the city needs to make.

Along with 2,500 other sites in the United States, it is recognized as a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.

Built between 1901 and 1903 The Texas School Book Depository became famous as the location from where it is believed Lee Harvey Oswald shot his gun from the 6th floor assassinating President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Upwards of 350,000 people per year visit the building, and walk through the famous Sixth Floor Museum.


The Building’s History: Texas School Book Depository

“The original building on the site was built in 1898. That building was destroyed by fire in 1901 after being struck by lightning, and the current building was built on its foundation… [it] is owned by Dallas County, which occupies the first five floors. The Museum operates on the sixth and seventh floors through a lease with Dallas County.” – jfk.org

“The site of the infamous structure was included in city founder John Neely Bryan’s 1841 land claim. In 1849, Bryan sold the lot to George and Mary Braird, who built a house and quarters for their slaves. When the Brairds outgrew their home and moved, their primary house was operated as a boarding residence. Beginning 1882, most buildings and fences on the block were razed and fill added to level the grade for railroad lines.

In 1894, the 411 Elm property was sold for $9,000 to Phil L. Mitchell, President and Director of the Rock Island Plow Company, a farm equipment company headquartered in Rock Island, Illinois. Four years later, the company built a five-story brick structure.” – mcadams.posc.mu.edu

“The building has seven floors and a basement and forms a 100 by 100 foot square with 80,000 square feet of space… In 1978 Dallas County’s government, with the aid of the Dallas County Historical Commission and the Texas Historical Commission secured funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities for an advisory panel that recommended the development of the sixth floor as an exhibit of John F. Kennedy’s life and death. After funding for the exhibit was secured, construction on the exhibit began and was completed in 1988.

The exhibit opened on President’s Day, February 20, 1989, and is a 9,000-square-foot display called the Sixth Floor. The display serves as an educational exhibit of President John F. Kennedy’s life and death, all placed within the context of the president’s era. The exhibit includes photographs, artifacts, documentary films, and interviews. The Sixth Floor visitor’s center is on the north side of the building, where an exterior elevator transports visitors directly to the exhibit. In 1992 the exhibit continued to attract visitors and provide them with information on the history and legacy of John F. Kennedy.” – tshaonline.org


The Sixth Floor Museum:

At the Texas School Book Depository, “the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza chronicles the life, death and legacy of John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States… Much of the exhibit space looks as it appeared in the 1960s. Highlights include a sniper’s perch, the FBI model used by the Warren Commission, historic films, photos and more. Following are the Museum’s hours of operation and prices for general admission.

Monday: 12 PM – 6 PM
Tuesday through Sunday: 10 AM – 6 PM

Please note that final admission is at 5:15 p.m. Open every day except Christmas; open limited hours on Thanksgiving 2018” – tourtexas.com

In 1989, the Texas School Book Depository’s “Sixth Floor Museum [opened], restored and adapted under the general supervision of architects Eugene George and James Hendricks. A collaboration between Dallas County and the non-profit Dallas County Historical Foundation, the Sixth Floor Museum ‘chronicles the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy; interprets the Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza; and presents contemporary culture within the context of presidential history.’

It is a way to partially transform the building from a place imbued with malice, regret and morbid curiosity, to a place of education, [and] understanding. The museum has been designed to maintain the integrity of the building and the feeling of the warehouse space, as well as the views out onto Dealey Plaza. Though no original evidence is on display, two areas–the sniper’s perch in the far southeast corner and the spot where the rifle was found–have been authentically restored to almost exactly the way they looked on November 22, 1963 using original photos and duplicate book boxes. These two areas are protected by glass walls, preserved as a piece of American history.” – smithsonianmag.com



411 Elm St

Dallas, TX



For visitor information go to: jfk.org


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