Preserving buildings near JFK’s assassination could cost $138M

Preservation Southwest
The Ruby courtroom, 1964. (The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, Ferd Kaufmann Collection via Scribd)
The Ruby courtroom, 1964. (The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, Ferd Kaufmann Collection via Scribd)

In Dallas on Monday April 25, the city held a public county commissioners meeting to discuss a uniquely local issue: preserving the buildings surrounding Dealey Plaza, where the 35th President, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 by Lee Harvey Oswald.

“As soon as those shots rang out, everything around Dealey Plaza had to be frozen in time,” Brooks Love, chief of staff for Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia, told the Dallas Morning News. The cost to renovate the interiors of two county-owned buildings overlooking the plaza—the 1918 Criminal Courthouse and Jail and the 1925 Records Building—could cost $138 million.

The Records Building is outlined in yellow. (Quimby McCoy Preservation Architecture via Dallas Morning News)

The Records Building is outlined in yellow. (Quimby McCoy Preservation Architecture via Dallas Morning News)

Part of the preservation effort includes a courtroom where Jack Ruby, the nightclub owner—and for those who believe in conspiracy theories, possibly connected to the mafia—went on trial for killing Oswald. (An American history refresher: Ruby was found guilty and sentenced to death, but he successfully appealed. Yet he died from lung cancer before a new trial date was set. So he died unconvicted.)



The Ruby courtroom, 1920s. (Dallas Public Library, Texas / Dallas Collection via Scribd)

The Ruby courtroom, 1920s. (Dallas Public Library, Texas / Dallas Collection via Scribd)

At the moment, Dallas County is discussing financing. “The tax rate would stay the same for property owners. The county would use money from its cash reserve that is earmarked for spending on buildings and roads,” Ryan Brown, the county budget officer explained to the Dallas Morning News.

Below is a look at the historic evaluation slides Quimby McCoy Preservation Architecture presented to the county April 25. Dealey Plaza is a National Historic Landmark. There is information on the historic evaluation designations of nearby buildings, as well as floor plans and photos—both historic and current—of the buildings’ interiors and exteriors.

There is another public meeting scheduled to discuss renovation funding for May 17.

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