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The 6th Floor Museum in Dallas: Travel First Impressions

Updated on March 7, 2011

6th Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza

6th Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza
6th Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza | Source

6th Floor Museum Labeled

6th Floor Museum in Dealey Plaza.  The Grassy Knoll is on the lower left.  Elm Street is on the lower right.
6th Floor Museum in Dealey Plaza. The Grassy Knoll is on the lower left. Elm Street is on the lower right. | Source

Spot Where JFK Was Shot

Spot Where JFK Was Shot
Spot Where JFK Was Shot | Source

I was on business in a northern suburb of Dallas and the meeting went well. Too well. The morning meeting wrapped up early and I had the entire afternoon to myself until the next meeting the following day. I had visited Dallas about 10 years earlier for other business and I remembered visiting the downtown area and checking out a tourist area with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. I wanted to find it again and asked my local business associates where it could be. They called the place the West End and it was a straight shot going south on mass transit system called the DART for Dallas area rapid transit.

The train station was not that far from my hotel. It was cheap and easy to use. I think I paid 4 bucks to use DART the whole day. It didn't matter how many times I got in and out of the DART train and which direction I was going. DART reminded me of the Boston T trains that take you from the suburbs to downtown Boston in different directions and many points in between.

In the case of my location, there were about a dozen stops from my station to West End and it took about 45 minutes to get there which is not too bad. The first time I have driven from the Dallas Beltway I-635, 10 years ago to downtown Dallas it was very easy. At the time there were hardly any cars driving in the downtown area. All the driving seemed to be in and around the Beltway. It seemed that not much has changed. I think it would have taken me 15 minutes to get downtown by car but I wasn't in the mood to drive that day.

I got off at West End to look for a place that I had visited. Nothing looked familiar at all. Having had a big Mexican lunch I needed to walk off the fat and calories. I continued my quest to look for the place I had in mind. I could not find it. I stopped by a big Sheraton Hotel in the area and asked a bellhop where the place I was looking for could be. Since I could not describe it really well, he could not give me good directions. But he did mention the sixth floor Museum. I did not know what it was but I had a vague idea that it was the place where John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

There are actually seven floors in the building. The 6th floor is the place where the assassin fired on the president.

The sixth floor Museum was not that far from the West End DART train stop. The actual name of the building is called the Texas School Book Depository. It did not look like any of the pictures I remembered because I was entering the building from the back. Many of the images in media showed only the front. Coming from the back of the structure, I entered a gift shop and there were many copies of old newspapers on display regarding the assassination. Several people, mostly senior citizens were lining up for a tour.

Making my way to the front of the building, there was a counter for tickets of the Sixth Floor Museum tour. The price was $13.50 but I opted to just look at the displays in the first floor and later headed to Dealey Plaza. There were a lot more people outside. In general, the plaza area is small. The place just seemed so much bigger on TV. It reminded me of my first experience seeing the real OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. In the movies the OK Corral looked like a wide-open area for a shootout. In reality, I think the Corral could fit about 6 cars max.

I went out from the side of the museum towards the main parking lot. There was a path to what is called the “North Pergola”. It seemed like some sort of memorial but it was there even before the assassination. Just below or south of the North Pergola is the infamous Grassy Knoll. This is where some witnesses claimed that gunfire other than the one in the 6th floor originated.

Facing the Grassy Knoll is Elm Street. You can see the spot on the street where John F. Kennedy received the fatal head wound. The spot is marked with a white X that is approximately a foot by a foot in area. I saw one good-looking blonde with her family posing on top of it. It looked very tacky and despicable at the same time. If you do this yourself you need to be careful. The street is still use and has traffic.

Once there was a pause from people gathering around the X, I reflected how it must have been like 48 years ago. It was a sad thought.

From the Grassy Knoll and Elm Street you can turn around see the 6th Floor Museum to the right of the North Pergola. The trees in front of the building are bigger now and seem to cover most of the Texas School Book Depository for a good camera picture.

I took a few photos of the area with my iPhone that didn’t really take good pictures. I didn’t have to do it. The place has already provided me with everlasting impressions.  I will never forget.

Dealey Plaza Plaque

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