This site was originally owned by John Neely Bryan, the founder of Dallas. During the 1880s French native Maxime Guillot operated a wagon shop here. In 1894 the land was purchased by Phil L. Mitchell, President and Director of Rock Island Plow Company of Illinois. An office building for the firm's Texas division, known as the Southern Rock Island Plow Company, was completed here four years later. In 1901 the five story structure was destroyed by fire. That same year, under supervision of the company's Vice President and General Manager F.B. Jones, work was completed on this structure. Built to resemble the earlier ediface, it features characteristics of the Commercial Romanesque Revival style.
In 1937 the Carraway Byrd Corpation purchased the property. Later under the direction of D.H. Byrd, the building was leased to a variety of businesses, including the Texas School Book Depository.
On November 22, 1963, the building gained national notoriety when Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot and killed President John F. Kennedy from a sixth floor window as the Presidential Motorcade passed the site.