1 / 20

Dallas site of Oswald's murder remains in shadows

Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy, reacts as Dallas night club owner Jack Ruby, foreground, shoots at him from point blank range in a corridor of Dallas police headquarters, Nov. 24, 1963. At left is Detective Jim Leavelle. Leavelle wanted to secretly take Oswald out the side door of Dallas police headquarters on that day forty-five years ago. His boss wanted to keep a promise to reporters. So Leavelle handcuffed himself to President Kennedy's assasin, stepped into a crowded basement and became an accidental part of history. (AP Photo/Dallas Times-Herald, Bob Jackson)

Dallas site of Oswald's murder remains in shadows

November 14, 2013

This city's old downtown police headquarters was rundown even in 1963, a dull-gray Frankenstein of a building that married a five-story neo-classic structure with a drab 1950s-era annex.

I know the place well, having worked long hours inside a closet-sized, windowless office on the building's third floor as a crime writer for the Dallas Morning News in the early 2000s, often coming and going in the mostly deserted building well past midnight.

As workers place the finishing cosmetic touches on the Grassy Knoll, Dealey Plaza and the sixth-floor sniper's perch inside the Texas School Book Depository in advance of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination on a downtown Dallas street, surprisingly little is being done to direct observers to the old police building and its important place in this terrible story.

About 18 blocks from Dealey Plaza on the east side of downtown, piles of discarded bricks fill a stairwell outside the building, and a nondescript plaque tarnished with decades' worth of pigeon droppings offers only a vague and understated account that this is the building where Jack Ruby fatally shot Lee Harvey Oswald.

The building may be recognized on Texas' historical register, but access to these important sites is shuttered to the public. (Yahoo News)