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In Dallas, JFK's memory still haunts (pictures)

After more than 50 years, the Texas city is still best known to some for the assassination of the 35th president. On Road Trip 2014, CNET's Daniel Terdiman takes in the somber history of Dealey Plaza.

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Daniel Terdiman
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1 of 13 Screenshot by CNET/Sixth Floor Museum

The FBI's Dealey Plaza

DALLAS -- Even if they've never been here before, most visitors to this giant Texas city will instantly recognize Dealey Plaza.

The site of one of the most infamous moments in US history -- the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 -- this otherwise pleasant landscape will forever be known for the death of the 35th American president and the pall that event cast on the blossoming vigor of the 1960s.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, located in what was in 1963 the Texas School Book Depository, offers a comprehensive look at the life -- and death -- of JFK.

Among the compelling exhibits is the above FBI-created model of the president's motorcade moving down Elm Street at the moment Kennedy was shot. Made to determine whether it was possible JFK had been shot by presumed assassin Lee Harvey Oswald from the sixth floor of the book depository, the model establishes that the official explanation is at least plausible.

CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman stopped in at the museum and the assassination site as part of Road Trip 2014.

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2 of 13 Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Sixth Floor view

Although the trees along Elm Street are taller than they were in 1963, a look out the sixth floor window of the book depository is a chilling experience. From the window, it is possible to visualize Kennedy's motorcade route, with his limousine first moving slowly down Houston Street (on the left) and then making the sharp turn downhill on Elm, where he was eventually shot.

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3 of 13 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

X marks the spot

A look up Elm Street toward what was in 1963 the Texas School Book Depository, and which is now the home of the Sixth Floor Museum (left). The X on the pavement is said to mark the exact spot where Kennedy was fatally wounded.

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4 of 13 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Zapruder

Called the most famous home movie in history, the short film shot by Abraham Zapruder on November 22, 1963 was the only known footage to show the assassination. It was used as evidence in many of the investigations surrounding Kennedy's murder.

This is the exact view Zapruder had on that fateful day.

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5 of 13 The Sixth Floor Museum

Rifle location

This is a replica of the 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle said to have been used by Lee Harvey Oswald to kill Kennedy. Located in the Sixth Floor Museum next to stacks of replica boxes meant to depict the scene at the spot where Oswald allegedly fired the killing shots, the weapon is one of the most startling artifacts in the museum.

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6 of 13 The Sixth Floor Museum

Dealey Plaza

A wide-angle photograph of Dealey Plaza taken looking up the hill toward Houston Street. On the left is the former Texas School Book Depository and Elm Street where Kennedy was killed.

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7 of 13 Sixth Floor Museum

Sniper's perch

A re-creation of the so-called "sniper's perch" in the northeast corner of the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository, where Oswald was said to have hidden in order to shoot Kennedy.

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8 of 13 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Texas School Book Depository

A seven-story brick building that would otherwise have no notoriety, the former Texas School Book Depository is now one of the most infamous structures in American history. Today it houses the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, a history of President Kennedy and his assassination.

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9 of 13 Screenshot by CNET/Sixth Floor Museum

FBI model up close

A close-up look at the FBI's model re-creating the supposed wound and kill shots said to have been fired by Lee Harvey Oswald from the sixth floor of what was in 1963 the Texas School Book Depository. The white wires are meant to establish that there was direct line of sight to Kennedy for both shots.

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10 of 13 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Grassy knoll

Many people refuse to accept the official theory that Oswald was the lone assassin. A number of witnesses said they heard shots from what is now known as the "Grassy Knoll," this spot alongside Dealey Plaza on the west side of Elm Street.

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11 of 13 Sixth Floor Museum

Bob Jackson camera

This is the camera used by the Dallas Times Herald's Bob Jackson to capture the famous photograph of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald two days after the Kennedy assassination. The picture won the Pulitzer Prize.

The camera is on display at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas.

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12 of 13 Sixth Floor Museum

Leavelle suit

Almost everyone will recognize the photograph of Oswald getting shot, with Dallas Police homicide detective Jim Leavelle recoiling as Ruby fired the killing bullet.

The Sixth Floor Museum has the suit Leavelle was wearing that day on display.

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13 of 13 Sixth Floor Museum

The museum

The Sixth Floor Museum attracts thousands of people annually with a wide variety of exhibits about the life and presidency of John F. Kennedy.

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