Photo of the Dallas County Administration Building with a tree and monument in the foreground.

Dallas County Administration Building Condition Assessment

Dallas County Facilities Management
Architectural Design
Historic Preservation
Historic Preservation
Dallas, TX
Project type
JQ Infrastructure

Recognizing a Dallas landmark

Since its construction in 1903, the seven-story Texas School Book Depository Building has served several purposes, from manufacturing to warehousing. Over time, significant changes to the building included removing the cornice, replacing wood windows with aluminum windows, and adding masonry screens. On November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot and killed President John F. Kennedy from a sixth-floor window of the now infamous building. In the years following, the building suffered neglect and arson. Slated for demolition by 1977, Dallas County purchased the building and renamed it the Dallas County Administration Building. The County eventually used it to house the Dallas County Commissioners Court and other County offices.

It wasn’t until 1978, when the West End Historic District entered the National Register, that the Depository was seen as a historically significant structure, although based on its original function and relationship to the railroad.

Planning historic building repairs

The deteriorating condition of masonry and windows and the 2017 Window and Masonry Assessment Report we completed led the County to further investigate potential repairs to the building envelope. We completed the detailed exterior envelope study for Dallas County. After we provided the County with the findings, we developed a testing program that included a series of non-destructive probes and testing for the envelope to determine brick strength, analyze mortar, and gather other information, such as wall construction methodology. The report, completed in 2021, found the exterior load-bearing brick walls varied in thickness based on the floor height and loading conditions of primary and secondary structural members. Widespread cracking, found in the brick load-bearing walls in segmental arched openings above the typical windows, was a result of the original design.

In 2022, the Commissioners Court and County administration offices were moved to the Records Building Complex, leaving the building vacant, except for The Sixth Floor Museum. Dallas County is planning to complete the exterior repairs and roofing as a future project.

A recognized landmark

The Dallas Administration Building is a National Historic Landmark, State Antiquities Landmark, and City of Dallas Landmark. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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