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President John F. Kennedy's assassination is an unforgettable part of Dallas' history.Nearly 54 years later, scholars and enthusiasts alike are still processing details from that fateful drive through Dealey Plaza now that the remaining investigation files have been unsealed. For the 50th anniversary in 2013, KERA produced special stories and reports from the commemoration:The 50th: Remembering John F. Kennedy was KERA's live, two-hour special covering the official commemoration event at Dealey Plaza in Dallas on Nov. 22, 2013. Hosted by Krys Boyd and Shelley Kofler, the special includes reports from KERA reporters before the ceremony begins. Listen to the special here.Bells tolled across the city, and the event featured historian David McCullough, who read from Kennedy’s presidential speeches; Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings; religious leaders; the U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club; and a moment of silence. Read highlights from the event from KERA's live blog from that day.Throughout the month, KERA posted an online series called 22 Days In November, which takes a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country and how it affected Dallas.We shared stories and memories in a series called “JFK Voices.” Explore our archives below.

A Conversation With The Owner Of Doug's Gym, Which Closed After 55 Years In Dallas

Fredrik Broden
The Original Doug's Gym Facebook
Doug Eidd at his desk at Doug's Gym in downtown Dallas.

After more than a half-century of whipping people into shape, a legendary Dallas gym closed down this past weekend.

Doug's Gym in downtown has been in operation for 55 years, after owner Doug Eidd came to Dallas from Corpus Christi in the fall of 1962. 

Eidd joined me to talk about his time in Dallas.

Interview Highlights

Why he closed the gym

There's been a lot of construction around here — that's not it. The rent has been going up the last seven, five or six years — that's not the main issue. The main issue of why I'm closing is I'll be 88 years old in a few months, and I want to leave healthy and strong.

I'm not a fool to say nothing can happen to me — it can. I've never been sick in my life. I've been here 55 years, I haven't had a day of sickness. Only time I left the gym would be a funeral or a wedding. And my Medicare card, all I have on it is just a physical, that's it.

If I was younger and everything got out of place here — say the rents went sky high — I'd try to move to another location. But I can't do that no more, there's no more time, time is shrinking. Thought about this two years ago, the biggest thing that got me worried about it was, "What happens if I did get sick or in a car wreck? Who is going to run the gym?" 

Credit Justin Martin / KERA News
Eidd said his gym had "none of the frills" and just the basic equipment a person needs to get in shape.

What he remembers about the John F. Kennedy assassination

I remember the swiftness of the city shutting down. Kennedy was shot — I'm just going to approximate at 1:30 p.m. —  and was announced dead somewhere in the area. Within an hour there was nobody working nowhere. Everybody had left town, the whole town shut down. When I looked out the window about 6 o'clock, the streets were packed with so many wires and reporters all over, from all over the country they flew in. You couldn't even hardly see the street.

"I want to leave healthy and strong."

If he thought he'd be running the gym for 55 years

No, I thought I'd be here two or three years. But the thing that really made me stay: I have two kids. They were born in 1956 and 1958, so they had to go to school. I had to stay in one spot. I thought I'd be here three or four years, and, you know, when you're young...I could go anywhere and make a living in this business.

But my wife liked it in town, and I was from Houston, and I was making a living at it. I didn't get rich on it, but I was paying my rent and paying my car payments like everybody else. You do that, you become self-sufficient, you're lucky."

Interview responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Justin Martin is KERA’s local host of All Things Considered, anchoring afternoon newscasts for KERA 90.1. Justin grew up in Mannheim, Germany, and avidly listened to the Voice of America and National Public Radio whenever stateside. He graduated from the American Broadcasting School, and further polished his skills with radio veteran Kris Anderson of the Mighty 690 fame, a 50,000 watt border-blaster operating out of Tijuana, Mexico. Justin has worked as holiday anchor for the USA Radio Network, serving the U.S. Armed Forces Network. He’s also hosted, produced, and engineered several shows, including the Southern Gospel Jubilee on 660 KSKY.