The Texas School Book Depository building and Dealey Plaza
The seven-story building commonly known as Texas School Book Depository building, was originally built in 1901 on the foundation of an 1898 five-story structure which had burned down after being struck by lightning. Between 1901 and 1963 the building served first as a warehouse for plows and other agricultural equipment and then housed a grocery wholesaler. In 1963 the building was leased to the Texas School Book Depository Company and served as a distribution hub for school textbooks with regional offices for education publishers.
After the assassination, the building remained leased to the company until 1970. Then, after much community discussion, Dallas County acquired the building and undertook a major restoration project. Finished in 1981, the exterior of the building was restored to its 1901 appearance and the first five floors were used for administrative and government functions. During this time, the top two floors, including the infamous sixth floor, remained empty.
After a decade of development and community soul-searching, on Presidents Day (February 20, 1989), The Sixth Floor Exhibit opened as a response to the many visitors who come to Dealey Plaza to learn more about the assassination.
Read more about this history of the building and Dealey Plaza at dealeyplaza.jfk.org.