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Dealey Plaza: “X” Marks the Spot

Dealey Plaza: “X” Marks the Spot

By on Jan 17, 2012 in Nerd Debates, Presidents | 2 comments

Our 2011 Christmas trip to Texas featured an excursion to Dallas, including a visit to Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum, which details the events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy, including the subsequent investigations and conspiracy theories.

X on the street down from the Book Depository

X on the street down from the Book Depository

Before we went , my brother and sister-in-law told me that there are “X”s in the street that mark where President Kennedy was hit. I found this idea to be shocking at first. Do we really need to know the exact spots, marked with an X on the pavement?

However, after visiting the museum and the plaza, I understand why having the spots marked may help visitors to understand what happened. I would be curious to know about the discussion when someone suggested painting the Xs on the street. I would suspect (hope) there was a lot of debate. I will need to do some research to see how long they’ve been there.

Book Depository, Dallas

The first “X” just a bit down the road. The shot came from the sixth floor (thus the Sixth Floor Museum)

When we arrived at Dealey Plaza, I could not believe how close everything is! The Xs on the street (especially when seen from the Sixth Floor Museum) give you a perspective on what happened and what a clear shot Lee Harvey Oswald probably had (I am not prepared to debate whether he acted alone, I am merely reacting from a visitor’s perspective as to how close the Book Depository window was to the street). So, from a historical and educational perspective, I understand why the Xs are there.

(As a side note, I am not sure of the plural for “X.” My dictionary says X’s, but it looks like a possessive to me and seems strange)

Back to the plaza, what I found objectionable was visitors running into the street to have their pictures taken on one of the Xs. Really? You want your picture taken on the exact spot where a president was killed? My sister–in-law questioned whether that part of the street should be closed because someone could easily get hurt. However, I find it odd that anyone would want their picture there. Would you smile for that picture?

Tourists posing on the Grassy Knoll

In a previous post, I wrote about  the dilemma the city of Dallas faces with the upcoming 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. The post has links to articles that express similar sentiments by authors who said it better than I do. What do you think? Would you want your picture taken on the X? On our visit, I saw at least one person doing it, as well as some people posing on the Grassy Knoll.

In an upcoming post, I will write more on the Sixth Floor Museum itself, which I found to be very interesting. The visit there sparked a spirited debate in the car ride on the way home![map size=”medium” align=”right”]


  1. That isn’t the “grassy knoll” pictured. It appears to be across Elm street and shows the wide median between Elm and the parallel Main street which you can see behind the tourists. They’re looking across Elms street, the street the motorcade was in, and toward the grassy knoll.

    Good read though. Thanks for sharing your observations. It’s my understanding those Xs are not official markings, but made by visitors to the site.An article I recently read described them as “vulgar.”

    • Thanks. We’ll go back and look at the photo. The markings are disturbing.


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