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Sunday, November 17, 2013

President John F. Kennedy assassination limousine retired at The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan

   Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village; Black Friday shopping in Metro Detroit lures Canadians

   One-Tank Trip for Nov. 16/13

   (c) By Jim Fox

   DEARBORN, Mich. – An image that stands out in the annals of history is a stately dark  blue U.S. presidential limousine travelling through the streets of Dallas, Texas 50 years ago.
   It was a perfect top-down day on Nov. 22, 1963 when shots rang out, leaving President John F. Kennedy mortally wounded.
   Whatever happened to that 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible? Was it destroyed after the day that changed history forever?
   It turns out the limousine was repaired, security enhancements added and then put back into service for future presidents for another 14 years.
The 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible that carried President John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated is on display at The Henry Ford museum. (Jim Fox photo)
   Retirement home
   Today, people from around the world travel to The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich. to see the vehicle up close, take a photo and read about its history and that fateful day.
   “The Kennedy limo is one of the most photographed artifacts in our collection,” said Melissa Foster, media and film relations manager.
   “It is one of the busiest areas of the museum during peak hours,” she added.
   To mark the anniversary of Kennedy’s death, the museum is open with no admission charge next Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., courtesy of Target stores.
   Visitors can see the limo, sign a guest book and “see a special teletype display with wire transcripts from that day in 1963,” Foster said.
   There will also be four honour guards stationed near each end of the vehicle.
Henry Ford museum details (Jim Fox)

   The X-100
   As eerie as it might seem, the limo – code-named the X-100 by the Secret Service – was put back into service after the police investigation.
   And, it doesn’t look today like it did back then, said Matt Anderson, curator of transportation at the museum.
   Many people believed it was destroyed or put away privately but it continued to serve presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter until 1977.
   They used the car “occasionally” although other presidential parade cars were built in 1968 and 1972.
   The most notable change is the addition of a permanent “greenhouse” roof instead of its convertible top, along with re-armoring the rear passenger compartment and bullet-proof glass throughout, Anderson said.
   President Johnson was “particularly uneasy” about using the car and had it painted black so it wouldn’t be as easily associated with Kennedy’s car.
Kennedy limo at The Henry Ford (Jim Fox photo)
   The museum has an extensive report about the limousine at: thehenryford.org/research/kennedyLimo.aspx
   It’s the most prominent of the museum’s presidential limousine collection.
   There is also the Theodore Roosevelt horse-drawn Brougham; Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Sunshine Special;” Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Bubble Top;” and the Ronald Reagan limousine.
   Driving America is the ongoing “automotive experience” at the museum with a focus on the “enormous influence the automobile has had on American culture.”
   There is a collection of 130 historically significant vehicles, 60 cases of artifacts, digital media and interactive screens, and personal accounts. thehenryford.org; 1-800-835-5237

   Holiday Nights in the village
   Greenfield Village, located at The Henry Ford, holds Holiday Nights, a “Christmas card from the past” next month.
   This “80-acre time machine” transports visitors back to America’s past with 83 authentic, historic structures, artifacts and re-enactors.
   Costumed presenters recall Charles Dickens with a round of singing carols in top hats, cravats and petticoats and there are candlelighted paths and holiday shops.
A costumed ice skater taking part in Holiday Nights  in Greenfield Village. (Photo by Michelle Andonian)
   Take a horse-drawn carriage ride or a trip in a Ford Model T along with ice skating, Santa and live reindeer and fireworks.
   There’s a dinner package with a “feast” in the Eagle Tavern, a former 1850s’ stagecoach stop, and “Supper with Santa,” a buffet turkey dinner at A Taste of History Restaurant.
   It happens Dec. 6-8, 13-15, 19-23 and 26-28, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. thehenryford.org/events/holidayNights.aspx; (313) 982-6001

   Attention shoppers
   Canadians making the foray into Michigan in search of “Black Friday” deals and low six-per-cent sales taxes on Nov. 29, can plan to arrive earlier.
   Many malls and stores across Metro Detroit are planning to open as early as 6 p.m. the night before on Thanksgiving Day.
   There is also the return of the Canadian Shopping Campaign with the chance to win a $1,000 Visa gift card, said Deanna Majchrzak of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
   The contest runs from now through Dec. 31 and there’s a form to enter online at shopgreaterdetroit.com; to plan a getaway: visitdetroit.com; 1-800- DETROIT (338-7648)


   Also appearing in Sun/Quebecor Media newspapers/websites:

Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca


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