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renovations at TSBD


Greg Parker
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This article can be found in full at McAdams website. It is without a single citation.

I have highlighted the areas I will address at the end.

Sexton to Sixth-Floor

The building remained vacant until 1940, when the John Sexton Co. leased it. The grocery wholesaler, who catered primarily to restaurants and institutions, opened its first Dallas branch office and warehouse on January 1, 1941.

About every two weeks, bulk grocery supplies (usually canned goods) would come in by rail and be transferred to the building by carts and the two freight elevators at the building's rear. The building, which displayed the company's name in large letters just above the sixth floor, became familiar locally as the Sexton Building. The structure would be described that way in some early police reports, even though Sexton had left the building on November 1961 for a modern single-story facility.

After Sexton, renovations at the Depository included partitions, carpeting and air-conditioning for office suites up to the fourth, plus a new passenger elevator that went only as far as the fourth floor. The Texas School Book Depository, incorporated 1927, was a privately-owned company charged with fulfilling book orders from schools all over the Southwest. Stock was kept in the basement, first floor and fourth through seventh floors.

In 1963, the year the company consolidated most of its operation in the former Sexton Building, it employed 33 workers, including 19 warehouse men, of whom four remained at the old warehouse at 1917 N. Houston Street, a few blocks north. Most Depository workers used the parking lot of this smaller warehouse, and it was here that Lee Harvey Oswald and his "bulky package" arrived in a co-worker's car on the morning of the assassination.

After the move, it was noticed that the upper floors had become oil-soaked from items which Sexton had stored, and the oil threatened to penetrate the cardboard of the Depository's book cartons. To remedy, Roy S. Truly, Warehouse Manager, began a process to cover the upper floors with plywood sheets, which necessitated moving certain amounts of the cartons over one or two aisles to allow the floor-laying crew access.

Just before the President's visit, work had begun along the west side of the sixth floor, leaving the whole scene in disarray, with stock shifted as far as the east wall, and stacks in between piled unusually high. For a quarter-of-a-century, the plywood would eerily preserve the original floorboards used by the assassin.

end excerpt

Acording to Organ, the need for reflooring arose because of oil left by the previous occupant. Forget for a second that it was mostly canned goods stored and therefore unlikely to leave heavy oil residues... the article clearly indicates that this oil was noticed after the move... yet it took almost 12 months to do something about it?

In another thread here, Larry H indicated the need for reflooring arose because the existing floor was weak. I suppose both reasons may be valid, but I would be interested in where either piece of information originated.

Larry also brought up the fact that other work had been carried out, suggesting that there was nothing suspicious about the floor laying or the timing of it.

I replied at that time that I believed the other work was carried out much earlier. What I was suggesting is that the other work and the floor laying had no connection.

What I was apparently recalling was the Organ article. Although not explicitly stated, it reads to me like the other work was carried out after Sexton left the building, but BEFORE the TSBD moved in.

My belief, at this time, is as it was, that the floor-laying was a pretext to artificially create a vacancy for Oswald. I do not rule out other possible implications either, with regard the setting up of the "sniper's nest" etc...

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Greg, the sources for my remarks were Westin's research, published mostly

in the Third and Fourth Decade but also in some of his posts on the Lancer forum -

plus some primary research by Glen Sample in relationship to Loy Factor's

remarks about being in the TSBD.

I've done no primary work on it myself....

One thing to keep in mind though is that there were a series of Oswald

"sightings" where he was apparently being impersonated looking for

jobs or making inquiries about buildings and views on Main Street.

There is also a documented job application from Oswald out towards the

general area of the Trade Mart after he was in the job at the TSBD.

It seems likely that the plotters were creating optional backgrounds for

a varitey of possibly attack sites in case of a last minute route change.

Main street would have been a given in just about any case though.

Best wishes in your TSBD research, Larry

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