With the fiftieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination approaching, Dallas construction crews spent Monday bulldozing the former home of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald lived in the now uninhabited 10-unit, two-story apartment building at 600 Elsbeth St. with his daughter and wife, Marina.
The young family lived in the building from November 1962 to March 1963 and, the Associated Press reports, it is mentioned in the Warren Commission report, which investigated the assassination.
The building, for all of its historical significance, was demolished because of its dilapidation and the owner’s unwillingness to renovate the property. A Dallas court commissioned the razing after the landlord, Jane Bryant, didn’t act quickly enough.
Oswald settled in the Dallas-Fort Worth area after returning to the United States from the Soviet Union. He is known to have abused his wife in the time they spent together and was disliked by many of the people he encountered at various odd jobs and even by the Communists who shared his political beliefs.
The family moved to New Orleans from their apartment on Elsbeth Street before Oswald returned, assassinating JFK from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository on Nov. 22, 1963.
The Warren Commission ruled that after fatally shooting Kennedy Oswald escaped the depository and was stopped on a suburban street by Police Officer J.D. Tippit, whom he also killed.
Both the public and elected officials in Texas have braced themselves for the attention surrounding the solemn anniversary. Still, the apartment unit – built in 1925 – had enough of a standing in the community to attract a small crowd when it was taken down.
Gary Mack, who curates the Sixth Floor Museum in the former depository overlooking Dealey Plaza, told the AP that Oswald purchased the revolver he would later use to kill Tippit while living on Elsbeth Street.
“The most important parts of the Oswald story are what he did, not where he did them,” Mack said. “One has to draw the line somewhere at what is or is not historically significant. For those studying Oswald's life, this may be a more important address, but for those who are curious about the Kennedy assassination, what actually happened in Dealey Plaza is of far more significance.”