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The Motorcade Route


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I was leafing through old issues (is there any other kind?) of The Third Decade and came across an article by Timothy Cwiek in Volume 3, Issue 2 (January 1987) called "The Motorcade Route Stories that Never Were." Accompanying his article, reprinted on the back cover, were newspaper articles from both the Dallas Times Herald and Morning News detailing the route in print (published in the WC evidentiary volumes as Commission Exhibits 1362 and 1363, respectively).

CE1362, published on November 19, indicates that the Dallas route was "revealed," indicating that:

From the (Love Field) airport, the President's party will proceed to Mockingbird to Lemmon and then to Turtle Creek, turning south on Cedar Springs.

The motorcade will then pass through downtown on Harwood and then west on Main, turning back to Elm at Houston and then out Stemmons to the Trade Mart.

The return trip will be much shorter, going directly from the luncheon site to Harry Hines to Mockingbird and then to Love Field.

In this, there is no specific mention of the dog-leg turn on to Elm, but then, there is also no mention of any other particular turn: but why would there be? Only if someone was aware of the 120° turn onto Elm might it have raised an eyebrow, but then probably only if someone was thinking about Presidential security, which most people probably wouldn't have been (although, clearly, somebody was!).

CE1363 was also published on November 19 according to the handwritten notation on that document. Where the Times Herald said that the motorcade would be "turning back to Elm at Houston," the News wrote:

THE NEWS LEARNED Monday evening that the presidential motorcade will travel 10 miles to the Trade Mart using this route:

From Love Field to Mockingbird Lane, along Mockingbird Lane to Lemmon, then Lemmon to Turtle Creek, Turtle Creek to Cedar Springs, Cedar Springs to Harwood, Harwood to Main,
Main to Houston, Houston to Elm, Elm under the Triple Underpass
to Stemmons Expressway and on to the Trade Mart.

The return trip will be more direct: Stemmons to Harry Hines, to Mockingbird and on to Love Field — a distance of 4.2 miles.

A couple of things stand out in these articles. First, while the Times Herald indicates that Kennedy would have a "three hour visit to the city," it does not even note when that visit will begin. The News, on the other hand, indicates that the President's plane was due to land at Love Field at "about 11:30 a.m." For what it's worth, no time for Kennedy's planned departure is given in either article.

While we all must know that JFK certainly intended to get back to Air Force One after lunch, we don't often give much thought to how he was intended to get back there since, after all, he never did go back ... at least, not alive. What's noteworthy is the fact that the return trip was supposed to have been via Harry Hines Boulevard

Anyone who's been to Dallas and spent a little time there knows that Harry Hines is a thoroughfare that, then as now, is not one that anybody would think was any more or less appropriate for a Presidential motorcade than Industrial Boulevard was or is. While much is made of the fact that the parade didn't continue on Main Street because nobody thought it appropriate for JFK to through an area full of factories and warehouses, it seems nobody had a problem with him going through another area full of used car dealers, strip joints and pawn shops.

Interesting, isn't it?

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In this, there is no specific mention of the dog-leg turn on to Elm, but then, there is also no mention of any other particular turn: but why would there be? Only if someone was aware of the 120° turn onto Elm might it have raised an eyebrow, but then probably only if someone was thinking about Presidential security, which most people probably wouldn't have been (although, clearly, somebody was!).

You probably already know this Duke but the agent responsible for prearranging security in Dallas was Winston Lawson. One would assume his duty's would include at least driving/checking out the designated route. As a side note, Lawson's cousin is one of my closest friends, she once told me that after the assassination Lawson almost had a breakdown because he felt so guilty at "letting down his President" (make of that what you will) he eventually went on to serve under Nixon.

Edited by Denis Pointing
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I was leafing through old issues (is there any other kind?) of The Third Decade and came across an article by Timothy Cwiek in Volume 3, Issue 2 (January 1987) called "The Motorcade Route Stories that Never Were." Accompanying his article, reprinted on the back cover, were newspaper articles from both the Dallas Times Herald and Morning News detailing the route in print (published in the WC evidentiary volumes as Commission Exhibits 1362 and 1363, respectively).

CE1362, published on November 19, indicates that the Dallas route was "revealed," indicating that:

From the (Love Field) airport, the President's party will proceed to Mockingbird to Lemmon and then to Turtle Creek, turning south on Cedar Springs.

The motorcade will then pass through downtown on Harwood and then west on Main, turning back to Elm at Houston and then out Stemmons to the Trade Mart.

The return trip will be much shorter, going directly from the luncheon site to Harry Hines to Mockingbird and then to Love Field.

In this, there is no specific mention of the dog-leg turn on to Elm, but then, there is also no mention of any other particular turn: but why would there be? Only if someone was aware of the 120° turn onto Elm might it have raised an eyebrow, but then probably only if someone was thinking about Presidential security, which most people probably wouldn't have been (although, clearly, somebody was!).

CE1363 was also published on November 19 according to the handwritten notation on that document. Where the Times Herald said that the motorcade would be "turning back to Elm at Houston," the News wrote:

THE NEWS LEARNED Monday evening that the presidential motorcade will travel 10 miles to the Trade Mart using this route:

From Love Field to Mockingbird Lane, along Mockingbird Lane to Lemmon, then Lemmon to Turtle Creek, Turtle Creek to Cedar Springs, Cedar Springs to Harwood, Harwood to Main,
Main to Houston, Houston to Elm, Elm under the Triple Underpass
to Stemmons Expressway and on to the Trade Mart.

The return trip will be more direct: Stemmons to Harry Hines, to Mockingbird and on to Love Field — a distance of 4.2 miles.

A couple of things stand out in these articles. First, while the Times Herald indicates that Kennedy would have a "three hour visit to the city," it does not even note when that visit will begin. The News, on the other hand, indicates that the President's plane was due to land at Love Field at "about 11:30 a.m." For what it's worth, no time for Kennedy's planned departure is given in either article.

While we all must know that JFK certainly intended to get back to Air Force One after lunch, we don't often give much thought to how he was intended to get back there since, after all, he never did go back ... at least, not alive. What's noteworthy is the fact that the return trip was supposed to have been via Harry Hines Boulevard

Anyone who's been to Dallas and spent a little time there knows that Harry Hines is a thoroughfare that, then as now, is not one that anybody would think was any more or less appropriate for a Presidential motorcade than Industrial Boulevard was or is. While much is made of the fact that the parade didn't continue on Main Street because nobody thought it appropriate for JFK to through an area full of factories and warehouses, it seems nobody had a problem with him going through another area full of used car dealers, strip joints and pawn shops.

Interesting, isn't it?

And the day after the newspapers published the motorcade route, two rifles were brought into the TSBD by Warren Caster. The same day those rifles were brought in, a Dallas Police patrol observed men on the knoll behind the picket fence with rifles.

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... And the day after the newspapers published the motorcade route, two rifles were brought into the TSBD by Warren Caster. The same day those rifles were brought in, a Dallas Police patrol observed men on the knoll behind the picket fence with rifles.
We know Oswald was working all day that day, so it couldn't have been related. That one of the rifles Caster brought in was a "sporterized Mauser" is not material since nobody ever used the word "sporterized" in describing any "7.65 Mauser" in the TSBD.

One can only hope that the men with the rifles behind the fence were not driving a green Rambler station wagon, because if so, Ed Hoffman saw them and can probably identify them.

Also, a correction RE:

... What's noteworthy is the fact that the return trip was supposed to have been via Harry Hines Boulevard

Anyone who's been to Dallas and spent a little time there knows that Harry Hines is a thoroughfare that, then as now, is not one that anybody would think was any more or less appropriate for a Presidential motorcade than Industrial Boulevard was or is. While much is made of the fact that the parade didn't continue on Main Street because nobody thought it appropriate for JFK to through an area full of factories and warehouses, it seems nobody had a problem with him going through another area full of used car dealers, strip joints and pawn shops. ...

What I said of Harry Hines is and was true ... however, not that far south on Harry Hines. I was thinking that Mockingbird intersected farther up (I was actually thinking of Walnut Hill, don't know why), which does fit the bill. The south portion of HH is commercial/industrial, but mostly manufacturing and set back from the road.
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