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John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza, Dallas

#23 of 190 in Things to do in Dallas
Monument · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial is a monument to U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in the West End Historic District of downtown Dallas, Texas (USA) erected in 1970, and designed by noted architect Philip Johnson.
The John F. Kennedy Memorial was the first memorial by famed American architect and Kennedy family friend, Philip Johnson, and was approved by Jacqueline Kennedy. Johnson called it "a place of quiet refuge, an enclosed place of thought and contemplation separated from the city around, but near the sky and earth." The citizens of Dallas funded its construction entirely.
The simple, concrete memorial to President Kennedy dominates a square in downtown Dallas owned by Dallas County. It is bordered by Main, Record, Elm and Market Streets, and is one block east of Dealey Plaza, where Kennedy was assassinated.
Philip Johnson's design is a cenotaph, or empty tomb, that symbolizes the freedom of Kennedy’s spirit. The memorial is a square, roofless room, 30 feet (9 m) high and 50 (15 m) by 50 feet (15 m) wide with two narrow openings facing north and south. The walls consist of 72 white precast concrete columns, most of which seem to float with no visible support two feet above the earth. Eight columns extend to the ground, acting as legs that seem to hold up the monument. Each column ends in a light fixture. At night, the lights create the illusion that the structure is supported by the light itself. The corners and “doors” of this roofless room are decorated with rows of concrete circles, or medallions, each identical and perfectly aligned. These decorations introduce the circular shape into the square architecture of the Kennedy Memorial.
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John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza reviews

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  • A great tribute to a former president that left before his time. The quote on the monument is very though provoking and highlights his intellect.  more »
  • This memorial shows how Jackie Kennedy felt when her husband was killed. She wanted the memorial to be ugly to remind the world how ugly she felt inside when her husband died by assassination.  more »
  • It's a must stop for American history buffs or just the curious. You can spend as much time as you want drilling down into one of America's darkest days. The buildings, structures, and museums surrounding the entire area are all first class. I do wish the memorial could have been made out of the intended material though.
  • A truly humbling and somber experience... If you find yourself in the heart of Texas, make sure you take a tour of the JFK Memorial and pay your respects to one of our nations most celebrated presidents and one of the most tragic heartbreaking disasters of our time.Retrace the path of his motorcade as it took its final turn down elm Street in those final moments that have been engrained in our memories since November 22, 1963. Walk the streets and reconstruct the scene of the crime in your own mind as you listen to the stories retold by street venders and historical markings at the grassy knoll. A tragedy still marred by conspiracies, you will leave this memorial with more questions and a stronger desire to uncover the truth about what happened at Houston and Elm...

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