Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Assassination Tour

As you can see to the right in the "Now Reading" section, I'm currently reading an account of the JFK assassination. While almost everyone of my age knows most of the details of the assassination and the aftermath, what made me want to read this was the first hand accounts and conversations, including the interrogations of Oswald. This book is actually just an excerpt of Bugliosi's full account of the event (Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy) and debunking of most of the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination. The detail and research in this is incredible.

Last night I got to the point where JFK's body has arrived back in DC and Oswald has been picked out of 2 line-ups. And then the thought hit me - why is Dealy Plaza such a big tourist spot, but where Oswald lived or where he was finally captured that day not? My first thought was that perhaps those locations no longer exist. Perhaps the house he lived in has been torn down; perhaps the movie theater is long gone. But one would think that something like that, of historical value, wouldn't have been. Yet, living here, you never hear about or read about tours of these places. I've been here since 2000, and I've never been to Oak Cliff, the part of Dallas only 4 miles from Dealy Plaza that Oswald lived in, shot a policemen and was captured in.

So this morning, with the book as my very detailed guide, I retraced the movements of Oswald from the School Book Depository to the Texas Theater. And I was amazed that most all of the places mentioned in his trek are still there! After leaving the building, he got on a city bus (I found the intersection); after riding on the bus a few blocks, he got off and got into a cab across the street from the Greyhound Bus station (it's still there); the taxi took him from the bus station to Oak Cliff and dropped him off a few block from where he was living (I took the exact route and at one point, sitting at a stop-light, you can see the window from where he was shooting - it was freaky); the house he was living in is still there (with cars in the drive-way and nicely kept up, so obviously someone is living there) and there are 2 alleys running behind and to the side of the house that you can drive down; from there I went to the intersection where he was approached by the policeman he then shot. Though no one knows the exact route he took from his boarding house to that intersection, you can guess as to how he got there, trying to stay off major streets; from there he walked down to a major street, turned and headed along until he reached the Texas Theater. On route, as mentioned in the book, a Texaco station, a library and a church play a roll in the search for him - all still there, although the Texaco station isn't a gas station anymore, but the building is still there. And then the theater itself - still there. It was the only location that had any reference or mention of the historical value it has. It is being renovated and they have pictures on the window of the ticket booth of the theater taken that day. Swarms of police. The marque of the films being shown that day.

I am very, very surprised that to my knowledge, there isn't a tour or something that takes you to these locations. It is a short easy drive from Dealy Plaza. You can easily get to and walk around all the places in Oak Cliff. And other than the pictures at the theater, not one mention of the significance of these locales. Maybe I should start a tour - or perhaps, there isn't much of an interest. But I would think that if you were interested enough to go to Dealy Plaza and the 6th Floor Museum, you would be interested in this as well.

I have one more location to try to see. The house where Mrs. Oswald was living in (she didn't live with Lee Harvey - they only were together on weekends). This house, which the address is given in the book, is in Irving. That will be my quest tomorrow.

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