Hon. AIA Dallas
Forever Changed: The Architecture of Dallas: Reframed by the Kennedy Assassination
Architecture does not exist in a vacuum. It is the expression of a city's history—culturally, naturally, and economically.
In that vein, cities experience turning points and defining moments in their buildings and their development. A fire in Chicago in 1871 gave that city's builders a clean slate, and, as a result, they redefined not only their own community, but the way high-rise buildings would be constructed everywhere from that point on. Persistent earthquakes in San Francisco created the necessity for new architectural thinking and redevelopment.
Trigger points aren't just natural disasters: One could argue that the economic collapse of the late 1980s served as a defining moment in downtown architecture, especially in Texas and specifically in our own Dallas—the skyline stood frozen for nearly two decades as the economy recovered and the glut of office space was filled.
The Assassination: A Dallas-Defining Moment
There can be no question that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on the streets of downtown Dallas on November 22, 1963, was a defining moment in the history of the city. It drastically affected the world's opinion of our community.
Perhaps even more importantly, it rocked its own citizens' self-image to their very core and created a collective sense of guilt and soul-searching that, to some extent, remains as we approach the 50th anniversary of that tragic day. But was it a turning point in the city's development and architecture? Did that soul-searching and self-examination extend to the way we looked at urban planning, design, and the buildings around us?
Within days of the assassination, even before the president's funeral and burial, there was discussion of the appropriate way to memorialize him in the city where he was killed. For some, however, the debate was an opportunity to begin their strategy to restore the city's image and self-esteem: distancing Dallas from the tragedy by seeming to pretend that it had ever happened.
Decisions to Make
Just two days after the tragic events of November 22, Dallas County Judge Lew Sterrett proposed a monument to the late president. This initiative was formalized on December 2 when Sterrett and Mayor Earle Cabell formed the John F. Kennedy Citizens Memorial Committee.
Suggestions soon came pouring in as to the most appropriate way to memorialize Kennedy. They included a simple white marble wall at Dealey Plaza, a carillon bell tower, a mile-long rose garden, a new performing arts venue and memorial funds benefiting causes important to Kennedy—education, elder care, or assistance for the mentally challenged.
Many ideas incorporated a statue of the president or an "eternal flame" reminiscent of the one on Kennedy's grave in Arlington National Cemetery. Enslie "Bud" Oglesby, president of AIA Dallas at the time, sent his own letter to the commission, offering the services of the architectural community to review any plans the commission might consider. The faction of citizens already at work to distance Dallas from the assassination (including, perhaps surprisingly, former mayor R.L. Thornton) argued that no memorial was necessary here; the more appropriate place would be the nation's capital.
Consultations with the Kennedy family included a committee meeting with Stephen Smith, President Kennedy's brother-inlaw, in which he expressed the family's preference that the memorial be something simple. After much deliberation, the committee issued a statement on February 22, 1964, announcing that a two-part solution had been reached. First, contributions would be encouraged for a memorial "sector" of the proposed JFK Library in Boston. Secondly, they "approved the creation of a dignified and modest memorial near the assassination site as a spiritual expression of our community."
In April, Dallas County commissioners designated a site for the memorial on Main Street just a couple of blocks from Dealey Plaza. (Interestingly, the "Old Red" Courthouse and other county buildings shielded the block from a view of the murder site itself.) By August 1964, total contributions had passed $200,000. Of the 50,000 individual donations, all were private and many from schoolchildren.
Stanley Marcus Brings Philip Johnson to the Table
But what would the memorial look like? The Kennedy family had asked for something simple and a variety of designs had been suggested by the public. Committee member Stanley Marcus traveled to New York and approached architect Philip Johnson, FAIA, an acquaintance of the Kennedy family, about the commission. Johnson—who had already completed several Texas projects, including the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth and the Beck House in North Dallas—quickly agreed and generously offered to work for no fee.
Johnson showed a proposal model (the only design idea he ever considered for the memorial) to the committee in early December, and on December 12, the design was announced. A date for the start of demolition of structures on the site was set for February or March of 1966. Ideally, the memorial would be completed for the fifth anniversary of the assassination in 1968.
Johnson's design was, as desired, simple. At 30 feet tall and 50 feet square, it was a series of 72 white, pre-cast concrete columns, 64 of which float two feet off the ground with no visible support. The columns would shield visitors from the sights and sounds of the city, but still allow air circulation and a sense of openness.
In the center of the space would sit a granite plinth, inscribed simply "John Fitzgerald Kennedy." There would be no statue, no engraved Kennedy quotes, and no eternal flame. Johnson said, "I didn't want to have a statue or hackneyed ‘narrative.'… It is a cenotaph, a memorial for one who lies elsewhere." He further commented, "It was essential to me that whatever I did, it should only be tacit interpretation of a memorial per se; it would be left to the viewers to find their own meaning."
The inclusion of an underground parking garage in the construction on the memorial site delayed completion past the 1968 target date. The John F. Kennedy Memorial was dedicated on June 24, 1970, in front of 300 attendees. Robert Cullum, vice chair of the committee, spoke at the ceremony and said, "The shock of that day has largely healed, the sensitive rawness of penance is passed, so this happy day we come to pay tribute to the life of that winsome man, not his death." County Judge Lew Sterrett praised the urban renewal that the project engendered, pointing out that "37 flophouses, beer joints, and whiskey stores" had been razed from the site and the adjacent blocks.
Although they had been invited, no member of the Kennedy family attended the dedication. Later, in 1972, President Kennedy's brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, visited the memorial and opined that the best qualities of the president "have been exemplified in the Dallas memorial."
A Controversial and Misunderstood Memorial
Johnson's simple and open-to-interpretation design has been controversial and often misunderstood. In an essay for the memorial's rededication in 2000 (after an extensive renovation), scholar Rick Brettell echoes Johnson's intent: "The best memorials are the simplest—always. We fill them with meanings of our own choosing." Frank Welch, FAIA, architect and author of a book on Johnson's work in Texas, said that the "empty space serves as a metaphor for the emptiness Dallas felt." Welch also felt that the site was appropriate: "Dealey Plaza was already filled up with enough memorials as it was … and enough architecture," he said.
Mark Lamster, current architecture critic for The Dallas Morning News and author of an upcoming biography of Johnson, is one of the memorial's detractors. Citing a 1930 design by Mies van der Rohe of an unrealized war memorial for Berlin, he said, "The idea was to create a space that felt tomb-like and solemn, but instead it is inert and rather forlorn—a persistent problem with Johnson. The marble plinth, borrowed from Mies, feels less like a gravitational focus (as Mies intended) than as a platform with a missing sculpture."
Regardless of opinion, the Kennedy Memorial stands to this day as the single most official (and perhaps important) commemoration of the assassination.
The Book Depository's Long Journey to Recognition
If the creation and design of a Dallas-based memorial to the slain president was complicated and difficult, it pales in comparison to the process of determining what to do with the Texas School Book Depository, the site from which the Warren Commission determined that assassin Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fateful rifle shots that killed Kennedy. Some argued for its demolition, others wanted to exploit it for personal gain. Civic leaders struggled and strategized for more than two decades, eventually creating a world-class museum that today attracts more than 300,000 annual visitors from around the world. Getting to that point proved to be a long and complicated journey.
In November 1963, the red brick building at the corner of Elm and Houston streets was operated by the Texas School Book Depository Company. Built originally in 1901 for the Southern Rock Island Plow Company, it was stereotypical of the simply ornamented warehouse buildings prevalent in the west end of downtown Dallas since the coming of the railroads in the 1870s. November 22, 1963, would instantly make it a standout—a grim reminder of the darkest day in the city's history.
After the assassination, the building drew immediate attention from visitors to Dealey Plaza, with many pointing toward the building and the historic sixth floor window in which the sniper perched. While some hoped for its destruction from the day of the crime (a hope to "erase from the face of the earth"), loud cries for its demolition began in earnest in 1970 when the Texas School Book Depository Company left the building and moved into a new warehouse. Owner D. Harold Byrd promptly put the property up for sale at auction.
It was purchased by Aubrey Mayhew, a Nashville country music publisher. He was also a collector of Kennedy memorabilia including several Kennedy-owned limousines and the hull of PT-59 commanded by John F. Kennedy during World War II. In 1971, he announced his intentions to move his Kennedy Memorial Center and its thousands of artifacts to Dallas. However, the project stalled due to lack of funds and the property was foreclosed on and auctioned (with previous owner Byrd as the winning bidder) on August 1, 1972.
Mayhew's plans created a new concern for Dallasites who already resented the building—the potential for crass commercialization of the sensitive site. The historic significance of the building was recognized by others, however, and as the 10th anniversary of the assassination approached, the issue was taken up by the Dallas City Council, which voted to "block demolition or alteration" of the depository while historical designation was pursued through federal and state agencies.
A variety of individuals became aligned with the efforts to save the building, among them Dallas Mayor Wes Wise (who had helped cover the assassination as a reporter for KRLD-TV) and Judson Shook, the director of public works for Dallas County. Shook had, for years, seen tourists from his office window standing in Dealey Plaza and pointing up at the building. It inspired him to become an advocate for the preservation of the depository as an historic site. There were setbacks, however, among them the state committee denial in March 1973 of the application to include it on the National Register of Historic Places. After this rejection at the state level, Dallas city officials (with new local preservation ordinances at their disposal) took matters in their own hands and designated the area, including the building the West End Historic District, the first commercial district in Dallas so named. The depository was now protected from demolition.
In 1975, Dallas County expressed interest in the Texas School Book Depository for use as additional office space. After a successful bond election in 1977, they purchased the building. The plans for the structure encompassed only the lower floors, however, with no plans for what to do with the sixth and seventh floors.
Prior to the bond election, Judson Shook led Lindalyn Adams, chair of the Dallas County Historical Commission, and Hollywood producer Martin Jurow on a tour of the sixth floor. It would be a fateful occasion as Adams soon became a tireless advocate and instrumental part of the creation of the exhibit we know today as The Sixth Floor Museum. She began discussing the possibilities with colleagues in historic preservation and soon Conover Hunt, a museum administrator who had recently moved to Dallas from Virginia, was involved as well.
Adams and Hunt became the dynamic duo that made the project happen. They were sensitive to concerns about the exploitation of the site and passionate about the potential to create an exhibit that was both informative and tasteful. As architect James Hendricks worked on the adaptive reuse of the bulk of the building, Eugene George was brought in to consult on the renovation of the sixth floor itself. In his capacity as caretaker of the building's 1963 features, George recommended the storage of a fire escape and the preservation of a portion of the first floor's exterior concrete screen as the building was returned to its 1901 appearance. The freight elevators, an integral part of the events of 1963, were placed permanently at the sixth floor and the shaft below was removed. To make room for the commissioners courtroom, a second floor lunchroom (where Oswald had been confronted by police on November 22, 1963) was taken apart and stored. The Hertz Rent-A-Car sign on the roof was damaging the structure, so it too was removed and remains safely in a warehouse to this day.
The remaining lead-up to The Sixth Floor's opening was a long process with plenty of challenges. The planners butted heads with county commissioners, petitioned unsuccessfully to gain recognition for the building from designating organizations and struggled to raise funds for the project. Along the way, the firm of Staples and Charles (whose principals were former colleagues of Ray and Charles Eames) was retained as exhibition designer and worked to create an exhibit that could "float" and not damage columns or other historic pieces of the building. A visitor center and separate elevator shaft were added to the plans by Hendricks to provide access to the sixth floor without impact on county business or facilities. Just as with the JFK Memorial, the timetable was delayed and extended years past the planners' initial intentions, but success was finally achieved soon after the 25th anniversary of the assassination.
The Sixth Floor (not yet known as a museum) opened to the public on President's Day, 1989. With the glare of international attention, the exhibit attracted thousands of visitors and mostly positive reviews. The opening also contributed to the ongoing cathartic process that the city of Dallas continued to experience with regards to the killing of a president. Tracy-Locke Public Relations found "a marked increase in positive messages in both national and local coverage" when compared with past stories. Preserving this architectural reminder of Dallas' biggest tragedy helped people move on.
Stephen Fagin, associate curator of The Sixth Floor Museum and author of Assassination and Commemoration: JFK, Dallas, and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, offers a personal memory. He visited The Sixth Floor within the first week of its opening with his family and family friends who were eyewitnesses to the assassination. His mother had been an elementary student in 1963 and visiting the museum seemed a "meaningful cathartic moment for her." While he, as a young child at the time, can't remember the details, it struck him that she was so "deeply moved."
The opening of The Sixth Floor remains as a turning point. Fagin points out that more than 60,000 students come through the museum every year. They come in with little background on the assassination, but they leave understanding, among other things, the "bitter struggle that the city had in coming to terms with the assassination. They get a sense of responsibility…a larger awareness of the community where they live and its collective history."
Soul Searching Leads to Grand Goals
Dealing with individual buildings associated with the assassination was one thing. The city's soul-searching was on a much larger scale than that, resulting in a city-wide goal-setting process that extended from its genesis in the years following 1963 up until the early 1980s.
The story begins in 1963 when Earle Cabell, mayor of Dallas, and Erik Jonsson, a Texas Instruments founder and the president of the Dallas Citizen's Council, greeted the President and Mrs. Kennedy at Love Field. Jonsson then went on to the Dallas Trade Mart to host a luncheon that never occurred. By February 1964, Cabell resigned as mayor to run against, and ultimately unseat, Republican Congressman Bruce Alger. It was Alger who had been associated with the virulently conservative political atmosphere of Dallas that many felt had contributed to an environment that led to the assassination. The Dallas Citizens Council, a powerful group of businessmen who influenced much of the city's workings, hand-picked Jonsson as Cabell's successor. He was elected outright in 1965 and in two subsequent elections.
As mayor for several years in the aftermath of the assassination, Jonsson was at the helm of a city still reeling from the negative international attention, post-1963. He searched for a way to help the city find itself and move forward. In an oral history in the collection of The Sixth Floor Museum, Jonsson says of the period:
"One of the things that was apparent immediately was that a project or two would get the people of the city involved and keep them busy thinking about what they were trying to build here in the way of a city. It would be one of the things that could certainly demonstrate that we were anything than a ‘city of hate.'"
With that strategy in mind, just two months into his term, Mayor Jonsson gave a speech to the Dallas Rotary Club on November 11, 1964, in the Terrace Room of the Baker Hotel. (Note that the speech was given just weeks before the first anniversary of the assassination.) In the speech, he cited Jane Jacobs' book The Death and Life of Great American Cities and the American Assembly and it efforts to outline a plan for the nation. (The American Assembly was a non-partisan public policy forum founded in 1950 by President Dwight Eisenhower.) Jonsson connects his idea to the assassination when he said, "In the preceding 12 months, Dallas has been subjected to a barrage of barbed and violent criticism, almost all of it unjust and undeserved, which stemmed from the events of last November 22." But he saw a way to move forward, saying: "I propose that we proceed and in the manner in which a typical American Assembly meeting is conducted." He continued, "What I want to see Dallas become is what I have always believed it to be—the best city in the United States." With that, Goals for Dallas was born.
In an oral history recorded by the Dallas Public Library in 2002, Brigadier General Bryghte Godbold (who became executive director of Goals for Dallas in 1965) described Jonsson's motivations and the extended process which led to Goals for Dallas.
"He [Jonsson] had a problem, and a big problem, which he inherited after the assassination as he became mayor," Godbold explained. "He became more and more concerned about the governance of the city, the leadership of the city, not because it was bad, but because people weren't challenged to help their communities in the way that Erik Jonsson thought they should be. People weren't given the opportunities in the ways that he thought they should be to participate in decision-making for their community, and he didn't feel that they had the opportunities, once the decisions were made, to participate in carrying them out."
Godbold had been recruited by Jonsson from the Ford Foundation and appointed vice president of the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). But essential to Godbold's job description was assisting Erik Jonsson. (Jonsson was, by the way, the founding chair of the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies, which became UTD.) Jonsson and Godbold began an exploration, reading books on education, history, and current events—from "the history of great cities and contemporary writings about the mayors and leaders of cities." They also traveled throughout the country, independently and together, talking to people they felt "were doing things that might be helpful to us in Dallas." Godbold said, "Slowly out of this process, over a period of a year or so, we began to formulate an approach, which ended up as Goals for Dallas. It didn't come like a bolt of lightning—it came creeping slowly through the fog of exploration."
One of their influences was Goals for America, an outcome of the American Assembly that Jonsson had mentioned in his Rotary Club address years before. In 1960, a commission of 11 distinguished Americans, appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, released a 30-page report in which they outlined the 15 key policy objectives that the United States should pursue in the 1960s. The president of Goals for America became a consultant to the Dallas team and one of its conferences became the model for an important part of the Goals for Dallas process. Ultimately, Godbold said that Goals for America impacted the Dallas thinking "probably as much as any one thing."
Another significant influence on the Goals for Dallas process was Erik Jonsson's professional environment. A mechanical engineer by education and profession, Jonsson was one of the founders of Texas Instruments. He believed in the goal-setting process employed at TI and replicated it for Goals for Dallas. In addition, the goal-setting guru at TI became an important consultant.
Once the concept of Goals for Dallas crystallized and Jonsson and Godbold had done their due diligence, it was time to begin. In December of 1965, a planning committee of 23 met to begin the process. Clifford Nelson, president of the American Assembly, addressed the group. They named Godbold as executive director and selected topics on which essays would be written as study materials for a larger conference.
One of the authors selected to write an essay was Pat Spillman, FAIA. A leader in the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Spillman was involved in the genesis of Goals for Dallas in an integral way. After reading and being "attracted by and fascinated by" newspaper accounts of Jonsson's idea, he made an appointment with Mayor Jonsson for himself and several other architects. In the meeting, the architects pointed out a glaring omission from the Goals for Dallas plans: "the vessel in which all this other stuff takes place … the design of the city." Jonsson agreed and design was added as an area of study. Subsequently, Spillman found himself with an assignment: the authorship of the design of the city essay.
From January to April of 1966, Spillman and the other authors worked on their writings. In the final version of his essay, Spillman began by saying, "The city is our greatest material accomplishment. There is no reason why it should be disorganized, inefficient, unpleasant, or ugly. It should, indeed, be our greatest work of art." He went on to describe the state of the city— its location, its greatest assets (including the Trinity River and Fair Park), and the various urban plans that had come before, dating back to the Kessler Plan of 1910. While he provided a "framework of principles" (among them "No single pattern is applicable to all cities"), he was careful to avoid goal-setting or suggestions at this point. Those would come later.
Eighty-seven individuals, as diverse as the blue-collar head of the AFL-CIO to Stanley Marcus, and including leaders from business, religion, government, and education, were invited to a conference in Salado, TX, to be held June 16 to 19, 1966. Careful attention was given to include minorities and women as well. From that conference came the program's first publication: Goals for Dallas-Submitted for Consideration by Dallas Citizens.
Among those goals is a strongly stated one related to design: "We demand a city of quality with beauty and [functional] fitness to satisfy both eye and mind." More specific goals address strengthening the city's planning department, creating institutions for the study of urban problems, improving the design of the central business district, and considering renewal programs for blighted areas. Most plans would have—and have—stopped there … with an inspirational collection of lofty goals to make the city a better place.
The genius of Goals for Dallas was that it wouldn't stop there; indeed, it would continue in some guise until the early 1980s. Instead, the goals would be refined through community input (a departure from the American Assembly model). A series of neighborhood town hall meetings occurred throughout the fall of 1966. Newspaper articles encouraged citizen participation in these meetings and the Goals publication was sold for $1 (at a loss, Jonsson points out) so that Dallasites could do their homework. Meetings were held in 20 neighborhoods with anywhere from 75 to 100 people at each. It was, after all, as Jonsson said, "a massive program for the people to tell what they wanted, rather than government telling them what they're going to get." From these meetings, alterations were made to the goals and a revised list was published in May 1967.
Next came implementation, but the program was operating at a disadvantage. Goals for Dallas was not affiliated with a government agency or any other institution with the far-reaching power to "make it so." Instead, it relied on the creative and can-do attitude of the many citizens who had become engaged in the process. As Jonsson said, "All who will help will be needed in our mutual effort to build a greater city." Twelve task forces, with a total of more than 300 participants, were charged with creating the next step: proposals for achieving the goals. This step brought additional architects into the process, among them Hal Box, David Braden, Henry Beck, and Leonard Volk.
The process continued with more community meetings, more revisions and more publications. It is a story too long to be told here. Goals for Dallas continued as an organization until 1982, but it lost its momentum long before that. Some felt it began to fizzle when founder Erik Jonsson ended his service as mayor. This sentiment was underscored in a 1972 article in The Dallas Morning News which states that "enthusiasm for the Goals for Dallas began to wane the day that Jonsson retired from office." A Dallas Citizens Council member is quoted as saying, "It's just not the same without him in there."
Lillian Bradshaw, the long-time director of the Dallas library system, was a bit more generous in her assessment. "Goals (of Dallas) was at its prime, I would suggest, until—I'm stretching this maybe—1976, 1977, 1978. After that, I think, probably the interests of the city were focused in a different way because remember that in the 1980s we had a bad, bad depression. During the 1960s and the 1970s, we enjoyed economic prosperity. There was time; there was money … for planning. When you get to the 1980s, you didn't have that luxury." The Dallas Morning News seems to concur, pointing out in an editorial on July 4, 1976, that "approximately 75% of the original goals have been accomplished."
Whatever the opinion, Goals for Dallas ceased to exist as an organization in 1992.
So what were the results of this ambitious program? The organization could not accomplish anything by mandate, so what did it achieve? In the design and planning arena, several examples seem to be most often cited. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) had been under consideration in the 1960s, but Goals for Dallas seemed to crystallize the idea. Godbold pointed out that "[t]here were lots of things that Goals for Dallas didn't initiate, but that were picked up by Goals for Dallas and moved forward faster. For example, "DFW airport was also on the drawing boards then, but Goals for Dallas brought it to the attention of people—not only here, but in the whole North Texas area—and made it easier to do."
Similarly, Dallas built a new I.M. Pei-designed city hall. Jonsson disliked the C.D. Hill 1914 Municipal Building he had officed in, stating that it was a "small building with not enough room for a city to grow into." Pei had, probably not accidentally, been a part of the Salado conference and provided the city with a government center that boldly stated its aspirations for the future.
Lillian Bradshaw talked about the results of the program thusly: "It was a program that stayed on its own until things began to come out of it. And when you saw buildings and DFW Airport develop, you saw that the program had been with it."
An improved community college system, a strengthened planning department, and an expanded branch library system (and new central library designed by Pat Spillman's firm and fittingly named for Erik Jonsson) are a few of the accomplishments attributed to the process.
The results were not all tangible, however. Goals for Dallas was also, especially in the wake of the assassination, a chance for the city to take stock. Bradshaw once said: "When the crisis of November 1963 occurred, we stopped and we said, ‘It's now time to look at ourselves, see what we've done right and see what we've done wrong.'" For example, Designs for Dallas, a joint publication of AIA Dallas and the Greater Dallas Planning Council, looked at how neighborhoods might be organized. It was just one of the first in a series of design documents generated by AIA Dallas and other organizations throughout the city and that heritage continues to this day.
What of the Monuments?
Knowing their convoluted history, it stands to reason to think about the sites associated with the assassination and where—and even if—they stand today. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their historic connections, most of them still remain in the city's fabric. Many have been restored in one fashion or another; several are undergoing extensive work in the run-up to this year's 50th anniversary of that tragic day of November 22.
The Sixth Floor Museum has changed its original exhibit in only minor ways; but in the late 1990s, it opened additional exhibition and event space on the seventh floor of the Texas School Book Depository designed by architect Gary Cunningham. The building finally did receive national protection when it was recognized as a part of Dealey Plaza's designation as a National Historic Landmark (one of only three in Dallas).
The Kennedy Memorial underwent significant renovation and was rededicated in 2000. The Sixth Floor Museum has assumed responsibility for its upkeep. Dealey Plaza has recently undergone a restoration, returning it more closely to its original appearance.
New attention has been paid to locations associated with Lee Harvey Oswald as well. The demolition of an apartment building, once occupied by Oswald, drew press attention. The Paine House, the Oswalds' primary residence in 1963, is being restored by the City of Irving to serve as a museum. The boarding house in Oak Cliff where Oswald stopped briefly after the assassination (and before shooting Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit) has been offered for sale for $500,000. The Texas Theatre, the site of Oswald's arrest, is now a movie theater and community performance space. And the Municipal Building, the site of Oswald's jail cell, interrogation and his killing, is being renovated to house the University of North Texas law school.
November 22, 1963, is possibly the single most significant and dramatic day in Dallas history. It forced the city into a state of critical and emotional self-examination and that extended in the area of architecture and urban design. Never again would a simple warehouse in the West End be looked at the same way. And to some extent, thanks to Goals for Dallas, never again would the city look at the rest of its surroundings in the same way. The 50th anniversary of that sad day marks another milepost in the process of emerging from the "long dark shadow of history." Perhaps it is again time to look around and determine, as Mayor Jonsson once put it, "What is it we want Dallas to be and to do?"
Greg Brown is the program director for the Dallas Center for Architecture.
The author and editors would like to acknowledge several individuals whose guidance and research assistance were invaluable in the creation of this article: Stephen Fagin and Krishna Shenoy, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza; Mark Lamster; Bryan McKinney, DeGolyer Library, SMU; Pat Spillman, FAIA; and Robert Wilonsky, The Dallas Morning News. Critical resources cited in the article include:Assassination and Commemoration: JFK, Dallas and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plazaby Stephen Fagin; The Goals for Dallas Oral History Project, Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library; The J. Erik Jonsson Papers, Manuscript Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU; the Oral History Collection, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza; Philip Johnson & Texas by Frank Welch; and the various publications created by the Goals for Dallas program.