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Oswald Rooming House for Sale

The house where Lee Harvey Oswald lived when he was arrested and charged with killing President Kennedy will soon be up for sale.

Lee Harvey Oswald’s Mug Shot.

The residence at 1026 North Beckley Ave. in Dallas should attract some interest, as it has for half a century.

Oswald rented an elfin room there for a few months in 1963. That is, until he was arrested and charged with killing President John F. Kennedy and Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit.

Oswald’s rooming house at 1026 North Beckley Avenue.

With the 50th anniversary of those events drawing near, Owner Pat Hall plans to list the property for sale on June first. No word yet on an asking price. But she has a minimum in mind.

“It’s not going to be too low,” she said during a recent tour of the house. “I’m selling history here.”

Her grandmother Gladys Johnson bought the house in 1943 and lived there with her husband for years, renting rooms to single men.

Oswald’s landlady Gladys Johnson (left), and housekeeper Earlene Roberts (right).

On Oct. 14, 1963, a man identifying himself as O.H. Lee took her only available room, paying $8 a week including refrigerator and living room privileges.

“She must have really liked him,” said Hall, for most renters didn’t have refrigerator access.

And Oswald apparently liked children, she said, recalling how he would play ball with her brothers in front of the house.

In testimony for the Warren Commission investigating the Kennedy assassination, Johnson said the quiet and tidy tenant spent most weekends with his wife, Marina, and two daughters in the Irving home of Mrs. Ruth Paine. The landlady said he would keep “a half gallon of sweet milk – and lunch meat” in the refrigerator and occasionally watch television with other renters in the living room.

Oswald’s wife Marina lived in Irving, Texas, with friend Ruth Paine.

She also told of learning on Nov. 22 that her Mr. Lee was really Lee Harvey Oswald after seeing his picture “flash on the television” and talking with police officers who swarmed his room after his arrest at the Texas Theater in the fatal shooting of Tippit.

Slain Police Officer JD Tippit.

Oswald had returned to the house briefly after shooting Kennedy — hurriedly, the landlady later said — apparently to retrieve a pistol. Officers found an empty holster in his room, Johnson testified.

“She was ashamed and humiliated that this house was associated with him,” Hall said.

The kitchen stove dates to Oswald days. The living room’s reupholstered couch, rocking chair, coffee table, book shelves and fireplace heater remain from the times Oswald sat there watching television.

Above a donation box near the front door, a sign still solicits support: Help Restore the Lee Harvey Oswald Room & Beckley Rooming House.

“This is it,” said Hall, chuckling as she walked into the Oswald quarters near the dining room, minus the French doors Oswald used for privacy.

Pat Hall stands in the same spot in Lee Harvey Oswald’s old room where her grandmother Gladys Johnson was photographed by Life magazine.

But Hall is restoring it for the sale. She has repaired walls and hopes to paint them the green of 1963. She plans to refinish the wooden floor, measuring 5½ feet by 14 feet, and return blinds to the four windows. Oswald’s metal twin bed is back in place. A drawered closet will be returned from storage.

The property, the 2,078-square-foot house and rear building, is valued on the tax rolls at $65,830. No telling what offers the 78-year-old, red-roofed house with its window air-conditioning, trellised porch and often-told story will attract.

Hall hopes a buyer will preserve the house, particularly the interior areas where Oswald spent time. “I’d like them to maintain it as it is so young people can come, history buffs can come and see what it was like to live in 1963.”

JFK and Jackie Kennedy, minutes before the assassination in Dallas.

But first to find that buyer.

Real estate agent Vo Singhal will represent Hall. He will screen inquiries, he said, and try to protect Hall’s privacy.

“When this goes public, I don’t want to spend my time batting off lookie-loos,” Hall said.

Hall and Singhal would just as soon see a bidding war break out. And if she doesn’t get that bottom dollar?

“There’s a Plan B. Definitely.”

Oswald was in turn murdered two days after the assassination, by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

Nightclub owner Jack Ruby fatally shoots Lee Oswald during a police transfer.

What if John Kennedy had lived and Jackie Kennedy had succumbed to the conspiracy plot? Read SAVING JACKIE K, a thrilling adventure to rescue the First Lady.

New Cover (Bright)

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