As part of my Southern Exposure tour, I wanted to visit as many friends and family as feasible. My brother-in-law is an engineer and was hired on by a semiconductor company to work in Dallas. As Dallas is along the way back to California, I decided that visiting the Quade family – consisting of my sister (Julie), brother-in-law (Duane), nephew (Duane Jr.), niece (Katelyn) and other nephew (Keith) – on my return journey would be a delightful way to wrap up the Southern Exposure tour. Particularly so as I actually like them and looked forward to spending time with them rather than it being one of those visits with family that one makes out of a sense of obligation rather than the enjoyment of the company.
As I was exploring Dallas and the surrounding environs for the first time while visiting, my brother-in-law (Duane) suggested we check out the JFK museum in downtown Dallas. I’d never heard of it, but was immediately interested and supportive of the idea. So, we assembled the crew (not an easy task) and were off to explore.
The actual name of the museum is the Sixth Floor Museum (the floor Lee Harvey Oswald was on when he is said to have gunned down the president), but everybody calls it the JFK Museum.
The Museum is located inside the actual building where Lee Harvey Oswald worked and from where he gunned down the president. It’s actually a pretty cool area because you have a park on one side (Dealey Plaza), trains on another side and some attractive downtown buildings on another side.
This is the site from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired, after creating a barrier out of the book boxes.
And the pictures below are the view he would have had from the sixth floor window:
The street on the left side of the first picture is the street JFK traveled down before his motorcade turned left…
Onto this street where he was shot. We couldn’t figure out why Oswald didn’t take Kennedy down when he was on the street in the first picture. JFK would have been closer and, facing directly toward Oswald, would have presented more of a target.
This Mannlicher-Carcano in 6.5 mm, bolt-action carbine ordered from Klein’s Sporting Goods Company of Chicago by ‘A J Hidell’ (an alias Oswald used) is believed to be the weapon with which Lee Harvey Oswald shot John Kennedy (and shot at Major-General Walker). It wasn’t as bad an instrument for the job as some suggest and Oswald practiced with it for nine months before November 22, 1963. In addition, Oswald received rifle training in the Marines where he was rated as a sharpshooter.
A display in the museum had the following to say about Oswald:
Lee Harvey Oswald… A Marxist at 15, Marine at 17, intelligent but eccentric, the archetypal loner… The weight of evidence strongly suggests that he was involved in some way in the assassination of John Kennedy, though there are also many contradictions. But whether he was a hitman (he was a better shot than some give him credit for) or patsy, he was probably a low-grade ‘secret agent’ – though for whom we will probably never know. Jack Ruby made sure that Lee Oswald remains an enigma by gunning him down on November 24, 1963.
Oswald defected to the Soviet Union in 1959 and renounced his American citizenship. He then returned to the United States in 1962 with a young Russian wife, Marina Prusakova, engaged in pro-Castro activities in New Orleans and had a reputation as a troublemaker.
Photographs and documents in Oswald’s possession tied him to the unsolved attempt on the life of ultra-conservative leader Maj. General Edwin A. Walker in Dallas on April 10, 1963. Oswald’s wife later testified that he admitted to her that he had tried to kill Maj. General Walker by shooting through a window of his home. Oswald left a note in Russian (pictured below) for his wife with instructions if he did not return that night.
This is a picture of Oswald posing with his rifle (he claimed the photos were faked before he was himself assassinated).
This is the money order used for the purchase of the 1940 Italian Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. Oswald bought the gun fitted with a sight with this $21.45 money order on March 12, 1963, using the “A Hidell” alias.
This is a picture of police officer, J.D. Tippit, killed by Oswald while resisting arrest. Oswald was seized in the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff.
This is the handgun used by Oswald to kill the officer.
Detective Leavelle’s handcuffs, manufactured by the Peerless Handcuff Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, were one of two pairs on Oswald when he was shot by Jack Ruby. This set connected Leavelle’s left forearm to Oswald’s right wrist. The other set, owned by Detective L.D. Montgomery, held Oswald’s wrists together.
A portion of the display below reads as follows:
In the three-year period which followed the murder of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, eighteen material witnesses died – six by gunfire, three in motor accidents, two by suicide, one from a cut throat, one from a karate chop to the neck, three from heart attacks and two from natural causes.
An actuary, engaged by the London Sunday Times concluded that on November 22, 1963, the odds against these witnesses being dead by February, 1967, were one hundred thousand trillion to one.
Original evidence from the Kennedy assassination stored in the National Archives… Lee Harvey Oswald’s Imperial Reflex camera, believed to have taken his “backyard photos,” is seen in the upper left corner…
Last Days… A pensive JFK
The kids grew bored inside and so gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to going outside.
Outside, there are a number of guys peddling conspiracy theories.
This group was standing around discussing various assassination theories.
X marks the spot… The exact spot where the first bullet struck Kennedy.
A view of the bridge the JFK motorcade was headed toward.
A view of Dealey Plaza. It’s underwhelming in size, really. Almost like someone’s large backyard.
The Texas Book Repository building from the outside.
Last but not least, the infamous grassy knoll. Also underwhelming in size. Actually seeing it in person, makes all of the conspiracy theories about extra shooters on the grassy knoll seem very improbable.