Watch CBS News

Fort Worth Breaks Ground For Downtown Kennedy Memorial

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Fort Worth officials broke ground Monday on what will be a multi-million dollar tribute to President John F. Kennedy.

President Kennedy's last public address was in downtown Fort Worth on November 22, 1963.

Kennedy Speech
President John F. Kennedy speaks in Fort Worth on Nov. 22, 1963. (White House photo)

It was a day that would go down in history, but hours before President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas he spoke at the Hotel Texas (now known as the downtown Hilton) then stepped outside on a drizzly morning to address a crowd of supporters at what is now General Worth Square at Main Street and East 8th Street.

On that cold morning, JFK spoke of volunteerism, the space race and leadership. Many waited hours in the rain to hear his words.

"We were grateful to have the President of the United States in our city," said former U.S. Speaker of the House Jim Wright who was there that morning. "It was though all of our dreams and hopes were coming to fruition at one time."

Wright, along with former Fort Worth mayor Bob Bolen and current mayor Betsy Price, took part in Monday's groundbreaking.

Kennedy Groundbreaking
Fort Worth dignitaries turn dirt for the ceremonial groundbreaking of a new JFK memorial located in downtown Fort Worth (Chuck Schechner/CBSDFW)

Now, nearly 5 decades later, the spot of Kennedy's last speech will become the site of a memorial.

KRLD's Chuck Schechner Reports:


Private donations made up most of the $2 million project. The project will include an 8-foot tall bronze sculpture of Kennedy and a marble water feature. It will be lit at night and provide a recessed, circular area intended to educate people about JFK's positive message just hours before his assassination.

The City of Fort Worth is using natural gas well revenues to improve the infrastructure around the site. Its hoped the project will be completed in early Fall of 2012.

MORE: Fort Worth John F. Kennedy Tribute
MORE: Downtown Fort Worth Project Description

Also Check Out:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.