JFK's Assassination Then and Now: 15 Sets of Time-Tripping Photos

Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 10:30 PM

By Richard Grigonis

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Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Reuters photographer Adrees Latif recently visited many Kennedy-associated locations, positioning his camera to record what these snippets of landscape look like 50 or more years after they contributed to history.

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Lee Harvey Oswald Poses in His Backyard




The top photo is one of a series of three "backyard photographs" of Lee Harvey Oswald taken in 1963 at 214 W. Neely St. in Dallas. Below is the same backyard photographed by Latif on Nov. 12, 2013.

Oswald lived here for a time with his wife, Marina, and daughter June Lee. A first-generation copy of one of these photos was given to his friend George de Mohrenschildt in April 1963, dated and signed by Oswald. Oswald in these photos is holding two Marxist newspapers, The Militant and The Worker, along with a mail-order Carcano rifle having markings that match the rifle found in the Texas School book Depository and used in the assassination. The Militant names Gen. Edwin Walker — a previous target of Oswald — as a "fascist." The photograph given to de Mohrenschildt also has a quote written in Russian, which translated reads, "Hunter of Fascists, Ha-Ha-Ha!!!"

In 1977, de Mohrenschildt was to be interviewed by an investigator from the House Select Committee on Assassinations, but he committed suicide the day before the meeting.


Kennedy Motorcade in Fort Worth, Texas




Top: Kennedy's motorcade moves through downtown Fort Worth, Texas in this White House handout photo taken on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963. Below: The Tarrant County Courthouse is seen from Main Street in downtown Fort Worth on Nov. 8, 2013.

During his 12-hour visit he addressed 15,000 people in Burnett Park on Nov. 21 and then the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce — his last speech — at a breakfast in the hotel where he spent his final night with his wife Jacqueline: the Hotel Texas, now the Hilton Fort Worth. Before their arrival, local residents scavenged museums and private collections to decorate their hotel room, Suite 850, with 16 world-class works of art such as Pablo Picasso's bronze "Angry Owl," Vincent van Gogh's "Road with Peasant Shouldering a Spade," and Thomas Eakins' "Swimming."

One person Kennedy met in Fort Worth was Edna Willy, widow of U.S. Navy Lt. Wilford John Willy, a pilot killed with Kennedy's older brother Joe during the World War II secret mission Operation Aphrodite. Their Boeing B-24 airplane, laden with 21,170 pounds of Torpex, had exploded prematurely 2,000 feet above the English coast.

On Nov. 9, 2012, Fort Worth unveiled an 8-foot bronze sculpture of Kennedy by Texas sculptor Lawrence Ludtke, installing it downtown at the southeast corner of Main and Eighth streets, in General Worth Square.


JFK Arrives at Love Field Airport, Dallas




Top: Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy greet supporters at Dallas Love Field Airport in Dallas, Texas, in this White House handout photograph taken on Nov. 22, 1963. That morning Air Force One landed at Love Field after pilot Col. James Swindal and his crew ferried the president and his party from Fort Worth. Both the Confederate and Texas flags proudly wave in the background. Below: We see the same location showing a remodeled air-traffic control tower, Nov. 9, 2013.

On Oct. 25, 2013, the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field Airport marked the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination with a special exhibit. Its centerpiece: a mock-up of Kennedy's Air Force One, fashioned from a 47-foot section of an actual Boeing 707 fuselage, similar to the VC-137C aircraft number 26000 that became the first jet-powered Air Force One in 1962. The exhibit includes reproductions of the cockpit and crew seating area, the presidential stateroom, and the compartment where Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office, becoming the first president to be sworn into office aboard an airplane.


The Shots Are Fired




Top: Bill and Gayle Newman, the two closest civilian eyewitnesses to the assassination of President Kennedy, cover their two young boys — Clayton, 2, and Bill, 4 — as CBS News photographer Tom Craven, center, and White House photographer Tom Atkins take photos in Dealey Plaza after shots were fired at Kennedy.

Below: Visitors to Dealey Plaza on Nov. 20, 2013, use a tablet computer to photograph the site where Kennedy was shot nearly 50 years earlier. The Newmans recently celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary. They live on 1.7 acres in Sachse, Texas, northeast of Dallas. Both their sons are married with children.


JFK's Limousine at Parkland Memorial Hospital




Top: Secret Service agents and local police examine the presidential limousine as it sits at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas beneath a sign reading "Ambulances Only." Meanwhile, Kennedy is being treated inside the hospital after being shot.

Below: We see the same ambulance parking area outside the emergency room at Parkland Memorial on Nov. 9, 2013.

At 12:38 p.m. on Nov. 22, 1963, President Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally were brought to Trauma Room 1 at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Kennedy was pronounced dead at 1 p.m., although hospital personnel said the president's chances of survival were nil by the time he arrived at Parkland. By 2 p.m., Kennedy's widow was escorting his remains to Air Force One.

At 1:07 p.m. two days later, on Sunday, Nov. 24, Lee Harvey Oswald died in Operating Room 5 of the same hospital after being shot by Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas Police Department, where Oswald was in the process of being transferred to the county jail.

With those two events, Parkland Memorial Hospital had become the temporary seat of the government of both the United States and the state of Texas; become the site of the death of the 35th president of the United States; become the site of the ascendancy of the 36th president; twice captured world attention; and yet somehow continued to function normally as a major charity hospital facility.

Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald died in the same operating room at Parkland Memorial, but more than three years apart. Ruby died on Jan. 3, 1967, from a pulmonary embolism associated with lung cancer.


Where Oswald Killed Officer Tippit




Top: A Dallas Police Department vehicle is parked in the 400 block of 10th Street in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas in 1963. According to federal government investigations, Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald at this spot — 10th Street and Patton Avenue — after Tippit stopped Oswald for questioning shortly after the shooting of President Kennedy.

Below: We see the same spot on Nov. 8, 2013.

Strangely, J.D. Tippit had parked his police car outside of his assigned patrol district, though the excitement over the assassination was causing confusion. Oswald walked by Tippit's car, Tippit called to summon him, angry words were exchanged, and as Tippit got out of his car, Oswald shot him dead, then ran off and ducked into a movie theater, where he was eventually apprehended. More than a dozen people witnessed the shooting and Oswald was later identified in a police lineup by five of them.


Where Oswald Got Caught




Top: An unidentified uniformed police officer points to the fifth seat from the aisle in the third to last row, in the Texas Theatre in Dallas in 1963. This is the seat where Lee Harvey Oswald sat, hiding in the theater after shooting Officer J.D. Tippit following the Kennedy assassination. Oswald was initially arrested at the Texas Theatre for the murder of Tippit.

Below: George Quartz, events coordinator for the Texas Theatre, poses for a photo on Nov. 8, 2013, at the same location.

The luxurious Texas Theatre, which opened in 1931, was the largest suburban movie theater in Dallas, the first Dallas movie theater equipped with air conditioning, and was part of a chain of theaters once owned by Howard Hughes. After the assassination, theater manager "Butch" Burroughs swapped out the seat where Oswald sat and took it home. The next day, the FBI entered the theater and confiscated the wrong seat as evidence.


The Investigation Begins




Top: Flower arrangements and spectators line Elm Street during a reconstruction of the Dealey Plaza crime scene by the Secret Service in this undated photograph taken in Dallas in 1963.

Below: Visitors to Dealey Plaza walk along Elm and Commerce Streets on Nov. 10, 2013.


The Infamous Texas School Book Depository




Top: Cars travel past the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas in Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963. Below: The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, formerly known as the Texas School Book Depository, was photographed from Elm and Commerce Streets on Nov. 10, 2013.

On Presidents Day 1989, the sixth floor of the building opened to the public as the Sixth Floor Museum — an assemblage of exhibits relating to the Kennedy assassination — which sees 325,000 visitors a year. On Presidents Day 2002, the seventh floor gallery opened, adding 5,500 square feet of space for innovative exhibitions, special events, and public programming. In July 2010, the museum opened a Reading Room that directly overlooks Dealey Plaza and affords researchers, students, and others a broad collection of books, magazines, and newspapers covering Kennedy's life, the 1960s era, conspiracy theories, and more.


Oswald's Boarding House




Top: The former residence of Lee Harvey Oswald, a two-story boarding house at 214 W. Neely St. in the hilly Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, is seen in an undated handout photo from the Dallas Police Department's John F. Kennedy assassination collection taken in 1963. Oswald and his wife rented an upstairs apartment in March 1963 but later moved to another apartment in the same neighborhood.

Below: The same site is seen on Nov. 12, 2013. The area is undergoing gentrification. Most of northern Oak Cliff's residents today are Hispanic. Interestingly, the northern tip of Oak Cliff was the site of the ghost town of La Reunion, a socialist utopian community founded in 1855 by French, Belgian, and Swiss colonists who adhered to the communal ideas of the French philosopher Francois Marie Charles Fourier.


John F. Kennedy's Final Procession




Top: We see the General Lafayette Statue and the Federal Circuit Library on the right as the flag-draped casket of President John F. Kennedy departs the White House and is carried on a horse-drawn caisson — the same one that had borne the body of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Unknown Soldier — to the U.S. Capitol to lie in state. Researchers had previously scoured the Library of Congress to research and emulate aspects of the funeral of President Abraham Lincoln, another president assassinated while in office.

Below: The same spot is seen as activists wearing Guy Fawkes masks walk past the White House.

Getting Out the Vote, 1958 Style




Top: Then-Sen. John F. Kennedy shakes hands with workers in Medford Square in Medford, Mass., in June 1958.

Below: A bicyclist rides around the same spot on Nov. 11, 2013.


Come to My Tea Party, Senator Lodge?




Top: A banner stretches above Main Street in Wakefield, Mass., in 1952, proclaiming the U.S. Senate campaign of three-term Massachusetts Rep. John F. Kennedy.

Below: A pedestrian walks in the same spot on Nov. 9, 2013.

The 1952 Massachusetts Senate election saw the clash of two great political dynasties: the "blue blood" Protestant Lodges and the Irish Catholic Kennedys, led by patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy.

Today's conservatives may find it amusing that Kennedy's innovation in the 1952 Senate race was a series of "tea parties" organized by Pauline McNamara Fitzgerald, whom the Kennedys called Cousin Polly (her husband, Edward J. Fitzgerald, was a Kennedy cousin and nephew of John F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, the mayor of Boston), and Helen Keyes, a popular gym teacher from Dorchester.

The first tea was held at the Bancroft Hotel in Worcester. The Kennedys expected 1,000 attendees; 5,000 showed up. It took hours for mother Rose Kennedy and JFK to shake everyone's hand. JFK attended every tea party after that, shaking hands and charming the mostly female attendees. An impressive 75,000 voters attended the tea parties, which, coincidentally, added up to Kennedy's margin of victory over Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.

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Indeed, when incumbent Lodge lost his U.S. Senate seat to Kennedy, he reportedly blamed his defeat on "those damn tea parties." Lodge, who had a shot at succeeding Ohio's Robert A. Taft as Senate Majority Leader, never held elective office again. Instead, he held a series of appointed offices, beginning with his posting as the U.S. representative to the United Nations in 1953. (Ironically, his father, Henry Cabot Lodge Sr., had vociferously opposed American participation in the League of Nations decades before.)


How Long Until High Tide?




Top: President John F. Kennedy sits in a beached rowboat with his son John F. Kennedy Jr., nicknamed John-John, on Bailey's Beach in Newport, R.I., on Sept. 15, 1963.

Below: The photo shows waves lapping at the same spot on Bailey's Beach on Nov. 11, 2013.

Bailey's Beach was founded in the 1890s as an elite private beach and club. It was named and is still owned by the Spouting Rock Beach Association, whose members have included Martha "Sunny" von Bulow, Claiborne Pell, Sheldon Whitehouse, Bruce Sundlun, and the Vanderbilt and Astor families. However, the beach's northeast end is now open to the public and is known colloquially as "Reject's Beach."


Kennedy Fun in the Sun




Top: We see the beach behind the Kennedy family's home in Hyannis Port, Mass. On this day on July 5, 1963, President John F. Kennedy, at left; his brother Sen. Edward Kennedy, second from left; and his daughter Caroline watch as Kennedy's longtime friend Lem Billings, at right, launches a toy sailboat given to Caroline by Italian president Antonio Sengi.

Below: A woman walks her dog along the same stretch of beach on Nov. 14, 2013.

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