A shopper walked out of a store in downtown Schenectady — he had just learned President John F. Kennedy had died in Dallas. “I’m shocked,” the man told reporter Pete Jacobs from the Schenectady Gazette. “I hoped the poor guy would pull through. But he didn’t.” It was Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, and people downtown had similar feelings about the assassination. They stood silently at bus stops; they cried openly in the streets. They said prayers inside local houses of worship and listened as church bells rang late into the afternoon. Over the weekend, Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller proclaimed Monday, Nov. 25, a legal holiday. That allowed local governments, banks and private firms to close. Post offices and banks shut down for the day; school and municipal offices were closed. And several churches and synagogues conducted memorial services that Monday.
Cantor Israel Shubowitz says a memorial prayer as Rabbi Joshua J. Epstein walks to the pulpit during a service for late President John F. Kennedy at Beth Israel Synagogue in Schenectady on Nov. 25, 1963.
People wear solemn faces during a memorial service for John F. Kennedy at First Reformed Church in Schenectady on Monday, Nov. 25, 1963.
Prayers are recited for late President John F. Kennedy at St. John the Evangelist Church in Schenectady on Monday, Nov. 25, 1963.
Flags fly at half-staff atop a downtown department store after John F. Kennedy was killed on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963. The flags provided a contrast to Christmas decorations that had already been placed on State Street.
Laurie Brown Lewis, daughter of Schenec-tady Gazette photographer Sid Brown, takes a look at the bulletin board in the front window of The Gazette’s headquarters on State Street. The newspaper posted updates on the Kennedy assassination on Nov. 22, 1963.
John F. Kennedy had friends in Schenectady. This young booster carried a Kennedy sign during the 1960 presidential campaign.