JFK GeoTrail – A Day in Dallas
This geocache is part of a 14 cache GeoTrail series. To complete the GeoTrail, visit the website at http://www.jfk50geotrail.com and download the Passport. You will need to take the Passport with you to each cache and be ready to write, punch, or stamp the appropriate markings that are hidden in each cache. Once complete, follow the instructions to receive your commemorative token.
The motorcade arrives and an assassin prepares
President Kennedy’s motorcade entered Dealey Plaza around 12:30 by turning north off Main Street onto N. Houston, then turning sharply to the left onto the undulating curves of Elm Street. The plan was for the President to take Elm Street down the hill towards the triple underpass then turn north onto Stemmons Freeway to the Trade Mart. That plan never fully materialized.
The crowds were heavy on that Friday, as many people were on their lunch breaks and excited to see the first U.S. President to visit Dallas in 15 years. The crowd was estimated at 200,000. As the President was heading down Main Street, an employee of the Texas School Book Depository, who was hired just two months earlier, was preparing for his arrival.
The Book Depository then, and . . .
How it looks now. This photo is made from the exact spot where President Kennedy was first struck.
Lee Harvey Oswald was one of only three people on the 6th floor that day. Two other workers were repairing the old wood floor that was in bad disrepair. Oswald was a well-trained and experienced marksman who twice in two years earned awards for his marksmanship with the Marines. He had carefully arranged stacks of boxes to conceal his position from others on the floor, to steady his aim, and to allow him to swivel along the Elm Street motorcade route. The view afforded from the sniper’s nest allowed a clear view of the entire street just above several live oak trees that gave him additional cover from those gathered below. He brought his rifle to work that day in a brown paper wrapper that he told others at the Book Depository was a package of curtain rods. As the Presidential motorcade turned off N. Houston, he was well ensconced at his position, and well-hidden from others.
This photo was taken as the motorcade worked its way north on Houston, ready to turn left on Elm. Notice that the 6th floor window on the far right is open. That window is where Oswald laid in wait. Two workers peering out of the 5th floor windows right below, also seen open in this photo, reported hearing 3 loud shots right above them.
As the lead vehicle passed his perch, just about 165 feet away, the first of 3 shots rang out. Most observers attributed the first loud blast to a backfire or some other non-threatening noise, but by the second shot, nearly everyone realized that the plaza patrons were under fire. With the echo of the ravine leading to the triple underpass and the abrupt change from excitement to terrible fear, no one initially knew for sure where the shots were coming from as nearly everyone ducked for cover.
The final turn from Houston to Elm was a sharp one, requiring the motorcade to slow down to a crawl.
The crowd thinned on Elm Street since the motorcade would soon speed up on the Stemmons Freeway with the formal procession concluded. Still everyone was smiles just seconds before the first shot.
Bill and Gayle Newman, and their boys Billy and Clayton (4 and 2 years old at the time) were the closest civilians to the lead vehicle as the first shot struck President Kennedy. As the loud rifle blasts broke through the celebratory cheers, Mr. and Mrs. Newman dropped to the ground covering their two boys to protect them from harm. In live television interviews only 15 minutes later, Mr. Newman described the gruesome scene, clearly disturbed by what he had seen. Even as he censored his own descriptions for the TV audience it was clear that wounds he depicted were very likely fatal ones for President Kennedy.
Bill and Gayle Newman look up relieved that the gunfire has ended and their family is safe.
News photographers capture the Newmans’ relief.
To find this cache, start at the posted coordinates and look for a sign that describes the significance of the area. There is a photo on the sign. It came from whose collection?
A. Bonner N 32° 46.857 W 096° 48.515
B. Carter N 32° 46.867 W 096° 48.565
C. Zapruder N 32° 46.814 W 096° 48.505
D. Pincus N 32° 46.817 W 096° 48.480
E. Willis N 32° 46.857 W 096° 48.515