City Hall: One Unfortunate Afternoon Shouldn't Overshadow Dealey Plaza's Decades of Not Murdering Presidents

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The powers that be have made it abundantly clear that they plan on tightly controlling the message around the November anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination. They've made it equally clear that they are going to do it in incredibly clumsy fashion, hiding the blood that still tints the city's hands rather than rinsing it away, which would require acknowledging that it's there. And so, they're calling it The 50th.

In the same vein, the city of Dallas would like to remind everyone that Dealey Plaza existed long before Kennedy so much as thought of coasting past the grassy knoll. It just released a video featuring Parks Director Willis Winters and City Archivist John Slate doing the best they can to downplay the significance of that unfortunate November afternoon.

"When people come to Dallas, and also for the citizens of Dallas, Dealey Plaza is always and foremost known as the site of the Kennedy assassination, but it is so much more than that," Slate says. "There are many things that happened here of historical note, and a lot of Dallas cultural history occurred here long before that."

The Indians and early settlers forded the Trinity River there, and John Neeley Bryan likely pitched his log cabin at the head of Elm Street. Railroads, buildings and cars followed. Slate seems particularly excited that the plaza connected to the light manufacturers and warehouses that populated the West End.

Winters, on the other hand, is transfixed by the "miraculous public works project" that created the head-scratching trident of streets funneling under the railroad bridge. "I think it really turned around the image of Dallas in its eventual development into a major public green space on the west side of downtown," he says.

Which is sort of like saying Ford's Theater should be famous for producing good plays, which doesn't appear to be in the cards.

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