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D in the Heart of Texas             

Jerry T. Dealey

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The Other Buildings Around Dealey Plaza (Part 2)

Early History of Texas
The Europeans and American Settlers
John Neely Bryan – And Other Early Founders
Some Wheeling-Dealing to Grow a City
George Bannerman Dealey
The Dallas Morning News is Born
The Great 1908 Flood
G. B. Promotes Other Early Dallas Growth
The "City of Hate"
Building the ‘Subway’, Triple Underpass, Dealey Plaza
The Other Buildings Around Dealey Plaza
The Elder G. B. Dealey
The Dallas "Citizens Council"
The ‘Right Wing’ Direction of Dallas - "City of Hate" Revisited
A ‘Turn-Around’ for the Dallas Morning News
The Pre-November ‘Hate’ Incidents
Dallas’ Law Enforcement
November 1963, Why Dallas?
Dealey Plaza Changes To-Date

At points north and to the east of the TSBD, was the old “West End” warehouse district. In early Dallas days, this was the area that became the Cotton District, and was made up of a series of warehouses to store cotton, wheat and other items awaiting shipment on Dallas’ railroads. Today, these warehouses have been renovated to house restaurants, stores and offices, and have been rejuvenated to attract tourists. One of these original warehouses, built in 1902 on the northeast corner of Elm and Houston streets, was the “Dal-Tex” building. “Dal-Tex” stands for the Dallas Textile building, as in the late 50’s and early 60’s it housed many of the Textile companies, such as the one that Abraham Zapruder worked for.

On the southeast corner of Elm and Houston streets is the Dallas County Records and Annex. The Annex is the whitish building that is predominantly closest to Dealey Plaza, with the Records Building east of it. The Annex was built in 1955, with its main facade facing Elm St. The Records building was built in 1926-28, and has a limestone exterior and gothic motif. The Annex is 7 stories high, and 80 feet of it face Houston St. On the south side of it is a steel dock connecting it with the County Courts building. The Records building housed the County Commissioners Court, and the Annex housed 8 district courts and three floors of jail cells. Many theorists believe that the roof of the Annex was a shooter location, and a 30-06 shell casing was actually found there during re-roofing in the early 70’s. The building still houses county business, although the County Commissioners relocated to the TSBD in 1981.

On the northeast corner of Main and Houston streets, stands the Dallas County Criminal Courts building. The 8-story (plus basement), 124-foot-tall building was built in 1913-15, and housed two Dallas County criminal courts and the county jail. More importantly, the Dallas County Sheriff Department had their offices in this building. This building was used to interrogate many witnesses and ‘detainees’ in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, and was the destination of the Oswald transfer when he was shot on November 24. The Dallas County Sheriff still has his office in this building today.

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“Old Red” Courthouse 1895: This is the “Old Red” Dallas County Courthouse in a picture taken in 1895, 4 years after it was finished. This picture would have been taken across Houston, between Elm and Main streets, with Houston St. going off to the right, and Main St. going off to the left. Note the bell tower and clock, which was removed in 1919. The platform for this clock tower is still there today. Dallas County is now working on a restoration project, and it will include an attempt to rebuild the clock/bell tower. (From the collections of the Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division)

The “Old Red” Dallas County Courthouse occupies the block on the southeast corner of Main and Houston streets. It was built as the sixth Dallas County courthouse in 1890-92, and is one of the oldest structures in Dallas today. In fact, when the Sixth Floor Museum excavated the area on the western side of the TSBD for a parking lot and entrance, many of the old red stones used in the Old Red construction were uncovered, confirming that the western areas were used as deployment and work areas for the construction of the old courthouse. Old Red was built in a Romanesque Revival style, of Pecos red sandstone. It has eight columns of Texas granite at the entrances, and is capped by eight round towers of 118 feet. The main building is three stories high, with a large platform in the center surrounded by Gargoyles. This platform originally held a large clock with chimes, and can still be seen atop the building today. This original bell tower, with its Howard clock, was removed in 1919 because of structural damage the 4500 pound bell and hourly chiming had caused.

Just east of the Old Red courthouse, is the Kennedy Memorial and Plaza. This memorial was built in 1969-70 from unsolicited donations from Dallas private citizens that started coming in 1964. The Memorial is a cenotaph (empty tomb) designed by architect Philip Johnson, consisting of an 8-foot square gray-black granite slab with Kennedy’s name engraved in gold upon it. This slab has become a ‘touchstone’ for Kennedy Assassination researchers who gather to remember the man. It is in a 50-foot square opening, with 30-foot high concrete walls to dampen the sound of the busy downtown area.

On the southeast corner of Commerce and Houston streets is the new Dallas County Courthouse, the “George L. Allen, Sr. Courts” building. This 20 story white building was under construction during the Assassination in November 22, 1963. In fact, key witnesses were some of the construction workers who had taken a lunch break in Dealey Plaza to see the motorcade. This courthouse is still in use today.

On the south side of Dealey Plaza is the United States Post Office Terminal Annex building. This 5-story, white colored building housed the US Post Office bulk mail facility, which used to take advantage of the close-by railroad tracks. The Federal Government Works Project Administration (WPA) built it during 1937, and it was as part of this construction that the US contributed money to the construction of Dealey Plaza. The bulk mail center had a main facade and entrance on Houston St., but had a secondary entrance on the Commerce St. extended (old non-curving Commerce St.) side to the north, where trucks could make mail deliveries and pickups. It was in this building that Postal Inspector Harry Holmes worked, and from which he was an eyewitness to the Assassination.

IE150-1.GIF - 6031 BytesD in the Heart of Texas - Table of Contents
03LEFT.JPG - 1910 Bytes The Other Buildings Around Dealey Plaza (Part 1)
03RIGHT.JPG - 1880 Bytes The Elder G. B. Dealey

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Last edited June 3, 2003