“Howdy, Mr. President! "

A Fort Worth Perspective of JFK

Fort Worth Prepares for JFK


The Secret Service selected the Hotel Texas in downtown Fort Worth to host the Presidential party on the evening of November 21, 1963. In advance of the visit, members of Fort Worth’s art community carefully assembled local art treasures, including works from the French and American Impressionists, to decorate both suites. Mrs. J. Lee Johnson III, Sam Cantey III , Mitchell Wilder, and E.B. Brown led the effort. Significant pieces included:

    President's Suite 850:
  • Pablo Picasso, bronze owl sculpture (Mr. and Mrs. Ted Weiner)
  • Claude Monet, painting of his granddaughter holding a doll (Catherine Lehane Johnson)
  • Van Gogh, “Road with Peasant Shouldering a Spade"
  • Raoul Dufy,“Bassin de Deauville” (Mr. and Mrs. Perry Bass)
  • Marsden Hartley, “Sombrero with Gloves”
    Vice President's Will Rogers Suite:
  • Charles Russell watercolors
  • "Sea and Rocks," by John Marin (Sam Cantey)

Hotel Texas and Choice of Suites

Carefully vetted by a Secret Service advance team, Suite 850 on the 8th floor of the Hotel Texas was the preferred location for the President and First Lady. Vice President Lyndon Johnson and wife Lady Bird would occupy the Will Rogers suite on the 13th floor. Although the Will Rogers suite was the nicer accommodation, it had two entrances, deemed unsecure by Secret Service standards to protect the President. In advance of the visit numerous telephones were installed by an elite group of Signal Corps technicians, one being a direct line to Moscow and others labeled “White House,” while additional rows of pay phones were installed off the lobby for use by news media.

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