Fifty years ago on this date, the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy checked into Suite 850 of the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth. It would be the last night of the president's life; he was assassinated the following day, November 22, 1963, in Dallas.
I was sitting at the lunch counter of Coots’ Drugstore, at the corner of Marsh Lane and Walnut Hill Road in Dallas. We had been let out of school that Friday so that we could follow President John F. Kennedy as he and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy landed at Love Field and then rode in a motorcade through downtown. But the excitement turned to anguish and confusion as news came over the radio that the president had been shot and killed.
In the 20 years following the assassination, the seven-story, red brick building that housed the Book Depository changed hands and survived arson. A plan to open a commercial JFK museum there never materialized. In 1977, Dallas County bought the building, and officials set aside the sixth floor, the apparent vantage point from which alleged sniper Lee Harvey Oswald had shot the president. The remaining floors were renovated for use as administrative offices, and, in 1981, the county renamed the structure the Dallas County Administration Building.