De Kalb, Texas: Ricky Nelson Death Plane Tail

In the late 1950s, rocker Ricky was more popular than Elvis. See the tail from the plane that killed him. The museum also has an exhibit about Nelson and the crash.

De Kalb Chamber of Commerce

NE Front St., De Kalb, TX
East side of town, on the northeast corner of NE Front St./US Hwy 82 and NE Houston St., just east of the Family Dollar store. The tail sits on the ground along the inside of the east fence that surrounds the small chamber of commerce building.
Tail visible all times; Museum open Th-Sa 1-4 pm or by appt. (Call to verify)
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Visitor Tips and News About Ricky Nelson Death Plane Tail

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Tail section of death plane.

Rick Nelson Death Plane Tail

Blink and you'll miss De Kalb's museum, the Williams House. I was looking for it and still managed to drive by twice. Unfortunately the museum was already closed by the time I arrived, and even though there's a note on the door cheerfully welcoming visitors to call and someone will come over to open the museum during off hours, I couldn't stand the thought of tearing someone away from dinner just so I could see whatever Dan Blocker exhibit they might have.

Turns out it didn't matter much anyway because what I was most interested in seeing is available for viewing 24/7. Beside the museum on the edge of the property is a fenced off piece of an airplane. There's no sign explaining the significance of the plane, but it is reportedly the tail section of the plane that [singer/actor] Rick Nelson was in when it crashed just outside of De Kalb in 1985.

[Rhonda Reddick, 06/19/2008]

Ricky's plane -- a World War II vintage DC 3 -- crashed in a De Kalb pasture on Dec. 31, 1985, killing all seven passengers. Tipster Kenny Mitchell writes: "The section of the plane at the Williams House is most definitely from the plane that Nelson crashed in and was given to the museum by the Nelson family. There is also a very nice exhibit inside the museum pertaining to Nelson and the crash, including news coverage from the night he died."

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