Amanda Guerra, NBC 5 News
NBC 5's Amanda Guerra reports from 600 Elsbeth in Dallas, the building where JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald once lived. The city of Dallas will demolish the building on Monday morning.
The city of Dallas razed Monday the one-time home of Lee Harvey Oswald, almost half a century after he assassinated President John F. Kennedy.
The demolition of the crumbling apartment building started around 8:30 a.m. local time on Monday. By 8:40, the first-level unit where the Oswalds are said to have lived was gone.
Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife Marina lived at the complex from November 1962 to March 1963, eight months before the assassination.
About a half dozen curious people with a strong sense of history showed up across the street to watch and take pictures of the 88-year-old building coming down.
Jose Sorola told NBC 5 DFW he wished the Oswald unit could have been saved and perhaps been restored to become a part of historic tours. But since the city said it had to go, Sorola bought a small piece of it.
"Yesterday, I came by and actually bought a window from Lee Harvey Oswald's unit number two, and what I plan on doing is try to restore it as best as possible, and make it a little display if anybody is interested in using that it'll be nice, perserve a little history, keep the building alive somehow," said Sorola, who paid $125 for the window.
The decaying building hasn't been occupied for several years. The woman who owns it bought it with hopes of restoring the complex, but the city condemned it back in 2011.
On Sunday evening, several people, including the building owner, local artists and nearby residents, showed up to take wood or bricks from the building.
One woman who takes people on JFK assassination tours said she's sad to see the building go.
"People are interested in it," said Freda Dillard. "I have people that come from all over the world to take these tours and they want to see everything, including this apartment building."
"It’s very sad," added Dillard. "Tomorrow [Monday] afternoon it’s going to be gone, and that’s another piece of history."
The city won a court order in May requiring owner Jane Bryant to tear down the uninhabited 10-unit, two-story apartment complex, saying it became a nuisance after she failed to act.
A city spokesman estimated that demolition and asbestos abatement would cost about $52,000. The city may place a lien on the property to recover that money.