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Visiting the JFK Birthplace | A National Historic Site

Now a National Historic Site, the JFK birthplace in Brookline, Massachusetts is a worthy destination for both history buffs and Kennedy admirers.

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All great stories need a place to begin, and President John F. Kennedy’s is no exception. His story began at his parents’ first 网投平台大全: 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts, now best known as the JFK birthplace. 

网投平台大全JFK Birthplace

The JFK Birthplace at 83 Beals St. in Brookline, MA.

Bethany Bourgault

网投平台大全JFK Birthplace

The JFK birthplace is also known as the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site.

Bethany Bourgault

网投平台大全JFK Birthplace

Our nation’s 35th president was born on May 29, 1917 in this house in Brookline.

Bethany Bourgault

Thanks to the efforts of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy and the National Park Service, visitors today can tour the 网投平台大全, see the room where he was born, and learn about the life, legacy and service of our nation’s legendary 35th president.

JFK was born on May 29, 1917, the second child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. “Jack,” as he was called, spent the first three years of his life here on Beals Street before he and his rapidly growing family moved two blocks away. They were eager to stay close to the church, schools, and Brookline amenities that they’d grown accustomed to, but desperately needed more space. At times, there were 8 people sharing the one-bathroom Beals Street 网投平台大全 – four children, two maids, and two parents.

They lived in their second Brookline 网投平台大全 for another seven years before moving to New York.

After JFK’s assassination in 1963, Rose Kennedy bought back her family’s first 网投平台大全 in 1966 and redecorated it as a house museum before turning it over to the National Park Service in 1969. Since then, it’s served as a monument to her son’s life, a testament to the family’s legacy, and the perfect place for visitors to take a peek into the early lives of a family so influential that some have referred to them as the closest thing to American royalty.

网投平台大全JFK Birthplace

JFK and his brother, Joe, pose near their 网投平台大全. They were standing where you see the blue trash cans in the background.

Bethany Bourgault

A tour of the JFK birthplace begins on the front porch, where guests meet with an informative and enthusiastic tour guide, ready to share the stories of the 网投平台大全. The guide begins by talking about the children featured in several large photographs, setting the stage with stories of early Kennedy childhood and preparing guests to step back into 1917 Brookline.

Moving through the door, visitors see where they would have been led if they were guests of Rose and Joe back in 1917. A cozy sitting room to the immediate right of the door is elegantly decorated with inviting furniture and heartwarming photos of the family. Early copies of National Geographic evoke the sense of a well-read family, and soft light from the window shines onto the grand piano that the Kennedy children were all taught to play. The tour guide uses the piano to tell an illustrative story about the competitive Kennedy spirit. Upon observing that his younger son was excelling in his music lessons while his eldest was not, Joe Kennedy told his wife that their eldest would have to be told to work harder – he shouldn’t be allowed to let his younger brother Jack outdo him.  

网投平台大全JFK Birthplace

Afternoon light shines onto the piano in the cozy Kennedy sitting room.

Bethany Bourgault

网投平台大全A Visit to the JFK Birthplace

Photographs of the family can be found throughout the house.

Bethany Bourgault

Across the entryway is the dining room, where the Kennedy children were encouraged to have strong opinions and discuss current events and politics. Of course, the children would have been so young during their evenings in this house – young enough to sit at their own, separate, kids’ table for dinner. However, though their opinions may not have been as maturely-formed as they were in later years, the Kennedy family worked to foster their children’s sense of curiosity, individual thought, and political opinion as early as possible.

If the dining table appears uncharacteristically fancy for a 网投平台大全 filled with young children, that’s because Rose Kennedy, while curating the house, set it with her wedding china for the National Park Service to display.

网投平台大全A Visit to the JFK Birthplace

A kid-sized table for two – JFK and his older brother, Joe.

Bethany Bourgault

网投平台大全A Visit to the JFK Birthplace

The dining room table is decorated with Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy’s wedding china.

Bethany Bourgault

Next on the JFK birthplace tour, visitors are led up the stairs to the second floor, where a door on the right leads to the master bedroom. This is where JFK and three of his siblings were born. Hanging over the bed closest to the window (where the doctor assisting with the Kennedys’ births would have had the most light) is a small motif of the Italian artist Raphael’s “Madonna of the Grand Duke.” The painting represents Rose and Joe’s commitment to their Catholic heritage and their efforts to teach their children that church and religion were not just for Sundays.

网投平台大全A Visit to the JFK Birthplace

The main staircase leads to the second floor of the three-story 网投平台大全.

Bethany Bourgault

网投平台大全A Visit to the JFK Birthplace

JFK and three of his siblings were born in the bed closest to the window.

Bethany Bourgault

网投平台大全A Visit to the JFK Birthplace

This bathroom, closest to the master bedroom, would have been used by all eight of the house’s occupants.

Bethany Bourgault

Across the hall from the master bedroom is the nursery, where JFK would have spent most of his time in the house. Little Jack was often ill as a child, so he spent more time recovering in his childhood bedroom than most others would have. On a chair toward the front of the room are two of his favorite books that he first delighted in listening to, then delighted in reading for himself. One, Billy Whiskers’ Kids by Frances Trego Montgomery, is a story about a tenacious, trouble-making character who the young president grew to resemble in his adolescence, and the other, King Arthur and his Knights, is the story some have credited with sparking JFK’s love for the stage play Camelot.

Also in the room are the bassinet and christening gown used by all of the Kennedy children.

网投平台大全A Visit to the JFK Birthplace

Two of JFK’s favorite childhood books are displayed on the chair in the nursery.

Bethany Bourgault

网投平台大全A Visit to the JFK Birthplace

The bassinet and christening gown in the nursery were used by all of the Kennedy children.

Bethany Bourgault

网投平台大全A Visit to the JFK Birthplace

Photographs of the Kennedy family at the JFK birthplace give visitors insight into what their lives were like.

Bethany Bourgault

At the other end of the hallway, visitors see the guest bedroom where one or more of the children may have slept when the house began to get crowded, and Rose Kennedy’s office. She took the job of raising her children incredibly seriously and completed her daily motherly tasks with the precision and efficiency she would have given to any other career. Her copious notes and handwritten records give today’s historians a great deal of insight into what the Kennedys’ childhoods were like.

网投平台大全A Visit to the JFK Birthplace

Rose Kennedy kept track of JFK’s health record on this card.

Bethany Bourgault

网投平台大全A Visit to the JFK Birthplace

Rose Kennedy’s office, where she kept records for every aspect of her children’s lives.

Bethany Bourgault

The last stop on the tour is downstairs in the kitchen, a site once bustling with the warming of baby bottles, the cooking of various meals, and preparation for entertaining guests. Old appliances lining the counter tops take visitors back to days gone by, while a special object on the Glenwood cookstove represents a tradition alive and well in New England 网投平台大全s still today.

After all, the Kennedys were New Englanders too – and they loved their Saturday night baked beans just as much as the rest of us.

网投平台大全A Visit to the JFK Birthplace

The Kennedy family enjoyed Saturday night baked beans just as much as we all do.

Bethany Bourgault

After the tour, guests are led to the basement where they have the option to watch an 18-minute film on the life and legacy of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Then, they can browse the gift shop for all their Kennedy memorabilia needs, or pick up books and brochures on various NPS sites. Tours of the JFK birthplace last about a half hour and admission is free. Don’t forget to check out some of the other important Kennedy-related historical sites (like Boston’s  and ), or, if you’d rather spend the day in Brookline, read up on to complete your day there. 

Have you ever visited the JFK birthplace in Brookline?

The John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site. 83 Beals Street, Brookline, MA. 617-566-7937; 

This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated. 

SEE MORE:
50 Years After the Death of John F. Kennedy | A 网投平台大全town Remembers
The Cape Cod National Seashore | The Beach That Saved the Cape
Best Boston Museums for Kids

Comments
  • Bette

    I would like to visit the Presidents birth place on my next visit to New England.

    Reply
  • Great article! I was the band director at Brookline High School and the band was invited to play at the dedication of the JFK birthplace. It was a beautiful day. At the end of the ceremony before closing, Rose Kennedy got to the microphone and graciously invited the “children” of the band all of whom were teenagers band to be among the first to tour the house. A treasured memory of that wonderful event!

    Reply
  • My husband grew up in Hull, MA, which is the entrance to Boston harbor and where Boston light is located and the first coast guard station, operated by Joshua James. The Kennedy family summered there, in a huge house across the street from the water, before they summered in Hyannis, MA. They always loved the water and my husband showed me that house soon after I met him. “Little brother Teddy” (Kennedy) was responsible for saving Boston light from extinction. The government wanted to make it automated and he insisted on having it remain manned, which is actually “manned” by a woman now!!!!!!!! He also authored 2,500 legislative bills.

    Reply
  • muriel

    My son and daughter-in-law rented the 网投平台大全 directly across the street from the JFK birthplace. I visited the JFK 网投平台大全 several times (on my visits to Boston) and thoroughly enjoyed it each time. It is such an interesting tour and I think I learned something new each time I visited. As a transplanted New Englander, my heart is always in New England and especially the Boston Area! Beals Street has always very been special to me.

    Reply
  • I visited the boyhood 网投平台大全 of JFK this in October 2016 and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was just so real and typical of my grandparents simple furnishings. The video was very enjoyable and best of all, it was free. Highly recommend it.

    Reply
  • I had grown up a short distance from Brookline Ma. In the Allston/Brighton area in the 50’s,60’s. Have never been to the JFK house but knew of it. Summer of 2016 Took my wife on a drive into Boston and went by the JFK house just to see it. never went in, but on the next trip to Massachusetts we plan on going inside for a tour. So fascinating is the story of the tour.

    Reply
  • I all but grew up in Brookline. My grandparents lived at 378 Washington Street, next to Bell’s Funeral 网投平台大全, and across from the Public Library. Enjoyed the article on the JFK Birthplace, My grandfather first worked for Brookline Ice and Coal, and then later until the end of his life, owned D. R. Burnham & Son Ice, Coal, and Oil. My grandparents 网投平台大全, a contemporary of 83 Beals Street, while smaller, reminds me very much of the 网投平台大全 in which I virtually grew up.

    Reply
  • Coralie

    I felt as if I were in the house with the Kennedy family. Always intrigued how families of wealth can live as simply as those of us without that wealth. A large family I can relate to with the two tables and one bathroom. Heartfelt. I have visited the JFK Library and museum. Once again, not disappointed only to find more than I could have imagined. The room over the water containing his boat from his younger days was the highlight for me. Impressive at every turn.

    Reply
  • I found that very interesting, I plan to take a tour with my grandchildren. So happy to hear it’s free!!

    Reply
  • lillian

    I enjoyed this , i hope to take the tour of President Kennedy’s Birthplace. thank you.

    Reply

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