Three years ago I found something in a police statement that has overtaken my mind and my time. This police statement was not meant to be of much, as it was the police statement of Texas School Book Depository Superintendent Roy Truly. The statement was to put more guilt onto alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and ended up having something in it, that I have been researching ever since. Within the statement, Mr. Truly mentions that the Texas School Book Depository had a janitor service that worked overnight within the building. These individuals had keys to the building, and had access to it, in the early morning hours of Friday, November 22nd, 1963. My original post about this company was in the early stages of my research, and within this article, you are going to read about everything that I have found over the past 2 years. Graduate school took me away from the research, but now I am back into it, and finding more out about this company.
So who was Acme Building Maintenance Company, and why did the Warren Commission not look into this company any further? Let’s start at the beginning and review who owned the company and how it became in what could have been, a key part of the set up in the assassination. The company was founded in 1920 by a man named Frank C. Jones. As high rise buildings were popping up inside the city of Dallas, Mr. Jones sought to take advantage of the vast amount of cleaning that these new buildings would need. The company grew at a fast rate and by the 1940’s and 1950’s, they were cleaning over 2 million square feet of office space within the city of Dallas. With an office set up on 1901 Laws Street in Dallas, the company was in a central location to all of its primary customers. The success of the company enabled Mr. Jones to become one of Dallas’s elite businessmen, and with articles featured in the Dallas Morning News during this time, he was able to have great financial success. With this success, Mr. Jones joined the Dallas Citizens Council, a group of powerful Dallas business owners who in later years would set up the luncheon at the Trade Mart for President Kennedy upon his arrival in Dallas. In 1954, an article in the Dallas Morning News had the caption “Acme Building Maintenance, Dallas’ Industrial Janitor”.
With over 125 employees working under him, and major businesses such as the Baker Hotel, The Dallas Morning News, Southwestern Bell, The Dallas Times Herald, and Dallas Medical and Surgical Hospital, all used the services of Acme Building Maintenance. Although the company was growing, the company was trying to stay local with its business, and it board of directors included such names as, Milt Thomas, Paul Clark, Robert Whitener, and even Mr. Jones’ wife, Eva Jones. The company would get one particular business that would change the course of not only the country’s history, but also this small company as well. In May 1963, Acme became contracted with the Texas School Book Depository. In the months before this contract was taken, another man would join the ranks of the board at Acme, and his name was William Travis. William Travis was also on the board of directors at Republic National Bank of Dallas at this time as well. This new director would play a key part in the eventual downfall of Acme in the coming months, and would later look to take control of the company away from Frank Jones.
The events surrounding the assassination have been well documented, and there is no mention of Acme Building Maintenance except in two police statements. The first was by Truly, and the second would be by the janitor of the TSBD, Eddie Piper. Following along with what Truly had mentioned in his own statement, Piper reiterated the fact that the employees at Acme had access to the building overnight. Yet again, no action was taken place to investigate this company. On November 8th, 1963, a document pertaining to the housing of William Travis, stated that his home was in the stages of foreclosure. This chain of events would lead one to believe that Mr. Travis was in need of money, and he needed it fast. The home was not taken away from him, and in fact by 1964 you would not have known Mr. Travis was in any kind of money issues. By April 1964 in documents found, the Acme Building Maintenance Company changed hands and changed names. The new owners of the company included a man by the name of William Travis, the board member who came to the Acme company in 1963. In documents obtained, the new company would be named, Acme Building Maintenance of Dallas Inc. and with it, the new board consisted of two former Acme board of directors, Travis, and CFO Milton Thomas.
This new company would not keep that new Acme name for long. In June 1964, parts of the Acme company was again sold to an acquisition company called CT Corporation (ChemTech), and the Acme name was still as late as 1966. The remaining holdings of the former Acme company were gone, and what was known as Acme Building Maintenance, a strong Dallas based company with over 200 businesses as customers, was suddenly gone within a year. What came about in the aftermath of this sale, was the founding of a new businesses by William Travis, each of which would be named “Maintenance of”. There was Maintenance of Dallas, Maintenance of Fort Worth, Maintenance of San Antonio, and finally Maintenance of Houston. Each one of these companies has a president or CEO with the last name of Travis. William Travis himself is still listed as the Chairman of the Board of Maintenance of Houston. When reached for comment about this finding, the representatives at Maintenance of Houston said they would get back to me, so far, no contact has been made.
So where did the original owner Frank C. Jones end up? After the sale of his company, Mr. Jones went was not able to find the success he had with his first company, and by 1966 in documents obtained, he was forced to sell his original home since 1944. Mr. Jones, would go onto working at various companies over the next couple of decades, and would live off of pensions from these jobs. By the time of his death in 1991, Frank Jones was not a well-known man in Dallas anymore, and the company he had founded was broken up into many different companies by a former board member.
By the time the Warren Commission was pulling together witnesses, the Acme company had already been sold twice, and broken up into different companies. With that, the records of all employees went with these acquisitions. The only names that can be found are the original board of directors, and the board of directors from the new company. Was this done to keep the real killers identity a secret, was William Travis paid off and handed keys to would be assassins to set up a sniper’s perch? All of these theories are left to the unknown, but what we know, is that a company that should have been looked into more, clearly was not. If you try and find the name Acme Building Maintenance of Dallas, you will be unable to find them. Most likely, my website will come up. In various city directories they are briefly mentioned, but the State of Texas does not even have them as a business that existed in that state. Another Acme Building Maintenance Inc., existed in Austin, Texas, and they had to give permission to William Travis in order to use the name Acme Building Maintenance of Dallas Inc.
In 2013 on a visit to Dallas, I was visiting the reading room at the Sixth Floor Museum. While I was in there, the late curator of the museum Gary Mack happened to be in there at the same time. I was too afraid to talk to him about this company at the time, so I emailed him later that day in hopes that he would have some more information about them. In his response, he was not able to provide much except for the same police statements that I already had in which they were mentioned. At the end of his email, he told me to keep him informed of this company, as he found it intriguing. I kept digging, and will continue to dig into this company and those that were a part of it at the time. For they, may hold the key to some of the answers in the Kennedy assassination.
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