A President’s Residence Saved: The Kennedy Family Compound with Rare Photos of their Real Life There

The President led by his children and a niece on the Kennedy Family Compound.

From the two corners of the country comes recent news that one of the “Kennedy Compound” family homes in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts will be preserved as an historic site, and that another Presidential home, that of Gerald and Betty Ford  in Rancho Mirage, California has a chance for a similar fate – if the potential buyer of the property, currently on the market with all its furnishings intact, has the foresight to recognize its significance (see that article with photos here at: http://carlanthonyonline.com/2012/02/09/jerry-betty-fords-desert-house-time-to-preserve-it/

It’s hard to think of the Victorian shingled Bush family summer home in Maine or Jimmy Carter‘s 50s rambler in rural Georgia in the same league as Mount Vernon or Monticello – but they are.  Those who either inherit or purchase such properties have the power to either preserve or erase the most personal type of perspective on a bygone President and his times and oftentimes a larger symbol in the national narrative.

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Ever since the 1960 presidential election of John F. Kennedy, the American people glimpsed his joys and tragedies and those of his siblings, their spouses and children by focusing on the white-clapboard New England summer home owned by their parents, former U.S. Ambassador to England Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. In the ensuing half-century, the closest the public got to seeing the family’s life there was limited to the view from tourist boats in Nantucket Sound, facing it. Only rarely did pictures show any of the seven family bedrooms, four servant bedrooms,  basement movie theater, sauna, enclosed pool, tennis court and four-car garage. Soon enough, the public can see it all for themselves. On Tuesday, January 30, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate announced that this “big house,” among three other smaller family houses composing the so-called “Kennedy Compound,” was being donated by the family for use as the institute’s conference center. As his son and namesake stated, “”This house was my family’s epicenter, where my grandparents, father, uncles and aunts would retreat to connect with one another through heated political debates in the dining room and rousing games on the front lawn.”

Here, through a sampling of some 80 years worth of Kennedy family photographs is a preview of what life was like not only in the Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy House, but also the President’s House, the Robert Kennedy House and the Teddy Kennedy House.

The Joe and Rose Kennedy House, or “The Big House

The Big House of Joe and Rose Kennedy, then their remaining son Teddy, later with his second wife Vicki.

In 1926, businessman Joseph P. Kennedy (born 1888) had first rented the then-smaller house on Marchant Street. He bought it two years later and began expanding it to accommodate his growing family of nine children and widened the windows to take in the sweeping, dramatic view on one side, of Nantucket Bay. Down a sloping hill, there is a side entrance where an outdoor beach shower was installed, and an entrance into the basement where Kennedy first began screening copies of the Hollywood movies he produced with his own small film company. Eventually, first-run feature films were screened there for his children and grandchildren, Rose Kennedy once quipping that it was a good way to save money otherwise spent at commercial theaters. On the main floor there was a sun room, living room, “television” room, dining room and guest bedroom.

1931. Three years after purchasing their Hyannis Port "Big House," Joe and Rose Kennedy posed on the beach in front of it. Left to right: Bobby, Jack Eunice, Jean on her father's lap, Patricia, Kathleen, Joe Jr. (II). Rosemary and Buddy the dog. Teddy was not born until 1932. (JFKL)

Kennedy married Rose Fitzgerald (born 1890), the daughter of Boston’s mayor, in 1914. Married for 55 years, their first child, Joseph, Jr. was born just nine months after their wedding and the rest of their nine children came in regular succession. To what degree later stories about his philandering were true or exaggerated, he and Rose worked as a team in shaping the values and sense of purpose of their maturing children.  Although they had a winter house in Palm Beach, Florida, the two Irish Catholic native Bay Staters always considered Hyannis Port their true home, a sentiment adopted by all of their children.

Joe and Rose Kennedy, from the late 30s to the late 60s.

Through the 20s and 30s, as he consolidated his great wealth,  Joe Kennedy was often on the road while Rose took an extremely active role in educating their children in their homes in Boston and then in New York. In the summer, however, Joe made certain to return for long stretches of time, imploring not just his sons but his daughters to adopt a fiercely competitive attitude in their sporting activities with each other, even encouraging rivalry. More importantly, he emphasized their need to strenuously support each other as one team when encountering those outside the family. Rose Kennedy was a strict disciplinarian, not above grabbing a coat hanger to keep them in line when necessary, censoring any criticism they made of their father and even denying them a place at the dinner table if they came too long after the appointed time. It forged an energetic camaraderie among them all, parents and children, always with Hyannis Port as the setting, with tennis tournaments, swimming competitions and sailboat races.

At the Big House, Rose Kennedy reading with her youngest son Teddy, eldest daughter Eunice looking on.

Late 40s. Rose Kennedy with children Jack, Teddy, and Pat watch Eunice play tennis on the family tennis court.

Eunice, Bobby, Teddy and Jean on the court.

Rose Kennedy in kerchief, second from left, sailing with her children Jean, Joe, Jack, Teddy and Eunice.

The four Kennedy sisters Pat, Eunice, Kathleen and Jean, 1940s.

1948. Jack, Jean, Rose, Joe Pat, Bobby, Eunice, Teddy were the Kennedy Family that Americans of the 1960s knew; by then, Joe, Jr. and Kathleen had died on airplanes, one a wartime mission, the other a crash and Rosemary was living in a Wisconsin institution.

1950. Jean Kennedy, Jack Kennedy and friends on the side porch.

The Kennedy family first gained national recognition when Joe Kennedy was named the U.S. Ambassador to England by President Franklin Roosevelt and the family relocated to England in 1938. His increasingly isolationism views put him at odds with FDR and he resigned in 1940. The family returned to Hyannis Port. It was in their home that Joe and Rose Kennedy got the news in August 1944 that their eldest child Joe, Jr., (born 1915) a naval pilot  had been killed when his plane exploded during a volunteer mission. A year later, Joe had third child Rosemary (born 1918) undergo a lobotomy in an effort to condition what he viewed as increasingly erratic behavior, but it so reduced her capabilities she was institutionalized. Three years later, his fourth child Kathleen (born 1920) was killed in an airplane crash. By then, his second child John (born 1917), known as Jack, had been serving in the U.S. Congress as a Massachusetts for several years, first elected in 1946. He was elected to the U.S. Senate and began serving in 1953, marrying later in the year. Joe Kennedy’s great ambition was for Jack’s election as the first Irish Catholic President. All the family’s joint efforts focused in that direction, daughters Eunice (born 1921), Patricia (born 1924)  and Jean (born 1928) and their husbands Sargent Shriver, Peter Lawford and Steve Smith all playing various roles in reaching that goal.

With his brother Bobby (born 1925) serving as campaign manager, Senator John F.. Kennedy won the presidential nomination in July 1960 and  returned to Hyannis Port. From that point on, the nation and then the world came to forever link the small New England summer beach town with the Kennedy family.  Reporters and photographers swarmed Hyannis Port, especially annoying the candidate’s wife Jacqueline, who insisted on setting some boundaries to maintain her own privacy. Consequently, most of the political meetings and media interviews of the 1960 campaign took place in the “big house” of Joe and Rose Kennedy.

Freshly returned from the Democratic Convention which nominated his as the party's presidential candidate, Jack Kennedy meets with reporters in the living room of the Joe and Rose Kennedy house.

Vice Presidential nominee Lyndon B. Johnson with Presidential candidate Kennedy in the Joe and Rose Kennedy House.

Jackie Kennedy, right, and her mother, on Irving Street outside her home in the Kennedy Compound.

Jackie Kennedy interviewed in the Joe and Rose Kennedy House during the 1960 campaign.

July 4 1963 For the first time Jack and Jackie embrace in front of others without their usual inhibition.

Following his election victory and 1961 inaugural ceremony, Hyannis Port became known as the “President’s hometown.” Jackie Kennedy and her two children, Caroline and John, would settle there in early summer 1961 and stay for several months into early fall, with the President making long weekend stays, flying on Air Force One and then transported by helicopter to what the press soon dubbed “the Kennedy Compound.”  This was a reference to the three other nearby homes owned and occupied by Joe’s three sons Jack, Bobby and Teddy (born 1932), and nearby homes of daughter Eunice Shriver and Jean Smith (Pat Lawford and her family, who lived in California were more intermittent summer residents). The President continued to use “the big house” for meetings and the house’s oceanfront lawn of bright, emerald green and oval driveway with a snapping flag became the most familiar icon of  the Kennedy Compound.

Joe and Rose Kennedy in their house with their six children and their spouses the day after Jack Kennedy was elected President.

The President conducts a Defense Department budget meeting in the living room of his parents November 1961.

The President driving a golfcart full of nieces and nephews, his brother Bobby looking on.

Teddy Kennedy greets his brother with good news on the lawn outside their parents' home.

The President gathered with his children, nieces and nephews on the front lawn.

The Presidential helicopter always landed on the lawn in front of his parents' home; he's greeted here by his Lawford nieces while a Shriver nephew exits the copter.

With the family’s love of the sea, the President’s summer weekends always included time out on either a sailboat or a yacht cruise. With his strong affinity for the sea, President Kennedy, like his mother, found great restorative power in simply walking alone (trailed by Secret Service agents) along the beachfront. As he remarked,  “I always come back to the Cape and walk on the beach when I have a tough decision to make. The Cape is the one place I can think, and be alone.”

A family cruise on the Honey Fitz, the President at center, brother-in-law Steve Smith at left, sister Eunice in far right corner.

President Kennedy with his daughter and niece Maria Shriver, the Kennedy Compound just on the shore behind them.

Aboard the family yacht Honey Fitz John Kennedy watches his aunt Eunice swim with her son Tim.

Jack and Teddy Kennedy and their children at the beach in front of their parents' house.

John F. Kennedy liked to think through his problems walking on the beach, just as did his m his mother.

A great benefit to being at the family compound for the President was his being able to drive his own car.

President drives his wife, friend Chuck Spaulding and brother-in-law Stas Radziwill from the Teddy Kennedy House, August 1963.

Just thirteen months after seeing his son elected President, Joe Kennedy suffered a stroke which left him physically incapacitated and no longer able to speak. Often frustrated in his new limitations, he spent long summer days siitting in his wheelchair on his front porch watching his grandchildren play and waiting for the moment when the President’s helicopter would land. While a niece became his caretaker, his children and in-laws made the effort to keep him included in their activities and a center of attention, many taking turns coming to spend time in the big house with him. The most notable event was their gathering for his 75th birthday dinner on September 7, 1963, and an ensuing party with gaf gifts and jokes to cheer him.

While holding his father's hand, John Kennedy is embraced by his grandfather Joe Kennedy on the front porch of his home.

Jackie Kennedy follows her son in the living room of her in-laws.

The family at the table in the Joe and Rose Kennedy House, the President at the head of one side of the table.

Joe Kennedy at the other end of the long family dining room table from his son the President; Jackie at far right, partially obscured.

As the President and Eunice Shriver react, their sister Jean Kennedy Smith holds up a joke flag they made for their father's birthday, teasing him with the motto, "He's Always in the Right."

Bobby, Teddy, Pat, Eunice and Ethel sing to Joe Kennedy as the President laughs from the side.

Jackie on the far right end of the couch across from the President in an armchair as his siblings Pat, Bobby and Teddy applaud their father in the living room.

Joe and Rose Kennedy with all their grandchildren in their living room.

President Kennedy bids farewell to his father on the porch of the Joe and Rose Kennedy House in what proved to be the last time they saw each other.

Joe Kennedy became more deeply depressed following the assassination of the President less than three months after his 75th birthday celebration and never recovered from the the assassination of his son Bobby in 1968, dying a year later. Rose Kennedy, whose religious faith carried her through the family tragedies, emerged as a stronger personality over the 26 years of her widowhood. She took a leadership role in her efforts on behalf of mental retardation, began granting frequent national television interviews and avidly campaigning for her youngest son Teddy in his U.S. Senate re-election campaigns, following his initial election in 1962. As she aged into her 80s, Rose remained physically vigorously. She was fearless in plunging into the ocean and became a disciplined golfer, and even tried to learn how to ride a bike. As the family matriarch, she hosted holiday and summer gatherings at the big house, her personality dominating the mood there. Though mentally strong, she became frail as she entered her 90s, but her daughters Eunice, Jean and Pat and son Teddy annually organized large celebrations there for her July birthday.

1967. Two years before his death, Joe Kennedy, confined to a wheelchair, holds grandson Patrick after his christening with his wife Rose, and son Teddy and his wife and two eldest children.

Rose Kennedy working at her desk in the living room. (Life)

Rose Kennedy found solace with time alone playing the piano in her formal parlor. (Life)

Rose Kennedy tries riding a bike in the front of her house, helped by granddaughters.

1979. Rose Kennedy, daughter-in-law and granddaughter, Ethel Kennedy and Kathleen Kennedy (Townsend) (Corbis)

Rose Kennedy was most often seen in Hyannis Port coming and going alone to daily mass at St. Francis Xavier Church. After JFK's 1963 assassination, Teddy escorted here as he did once she was disabled by the 80s.

Rose Kennedy's 90th birthday party in 1980.

1983. Rose Kennedy's 93rd birthday with her children Eunice, Teddy and Jean.

Generations of her family gathered at the Joe and Rose Kennedy House to celebrate her 100th birthday in 1990.

Following his divorce, Teddy Kennedy moved into the big house in 1982 with his frail mother, joined by his second wife Vicki after their 1992 marriage. Rose Kennedy died in her home in 1995, and her son promised to honor her wishes that the big house be not only historically preserved with the furnishings remaining as they had been since practically the 1960 presidential election but used for some charitable purpose.

Teddy Kennedy moved into the Joe and Rose Kennedy House in 1982, after his divorce, living there for 27 years and ensured its preservation.

2009. After services in the Joe and Rose Kennedy House, the flag-draped coffin of Teddy Kennedy is carried away.

2009. The Kennedy family about to depart the Joe and Rose Kennedy House for the funeral of Teddy Kennedy.

Living Room of the Joe and Rose Kennedy House as it looks today. (EMK Institute Katelyn O"Sullivan)

Another view of the Joe and Rose Kennedy House living room as it looks today. (EMK Institute Katelyn O"Sullivan)

Patrick Kennedy had the most recent wedding at the family compoound in July of 2011.

The President’s House

The President's House where Jack and Jackie lived. After his mother's 1994 death John Kennedy, Jr. lived here with his wife. After his 199 death, his sister sold it to cousin Teddy, Jr. who lives there with his wife Kiki and their two children.

Following  their September 1953 marriage, then-U.S. Senator from Massachusetts John F. Kennedy and his wife, the former Jacqueline Bouvier lived for three years with his parents in the “Big House,”  in a first-floor room, thus making the Joe and Rose Kennedy House technically a presidential residence. In 1956, they bought their own nearby home, entered from Irving Avenue. They lived here throughout the 1960 campaign and election. With thousands of tourists flooding Hyannis Port for a glimpse of the new President and First Lady in the summer of 1961, however, and with the house being visible from the street it sat on, Irving Avenue, it not only lacked privacy but proved to be a security risk. In the summer of 1962 they rented a home from a family friend Morton Downey on a spit of land known as Squaw Island, walkable to the big house along the beach. The following summer, they occupied the more remote home of his brother Teddy and his family.

Jack Kennedy as Senator with his fiancee Jackie Bouvier in his parents' living room; as newlyweds Jack and Jackie lived in the big house before buying their own.

President-elect and Mrs. Kennedy with their daughter, in front of what came to be known as The President's House.

Jacqueline Kennedy, in the President's House sun porch, wanted a separation between her private family life and her husband's official life, usually conducted at Joe and Rose's House.

President Kennedy continued to hold conferences which involved a larger number of advisors or was covered by a press contingency at his parents home; he is seen here walking to his own home with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara

President Kennedy conferring in his living room with brother-in-law Sargent Shriver, head of the Peace Corps.


The Presidents walks to his home on the Kennedy Compound from the ocean side, accompanied by his friend Dave Powers and a military aide.

An aide reviews the President's schedule with the housekeeper in the dining-room.

The President interviewed by a Soviet journalist who happened to be Nikita Khrushchev's son-in-law, in the President's House sunroom.

Jack and Jackie Kennedy on the brick patio at the rear of the President's House.

While Bobby and Teddy Kennedy played pivotal roles in mid-20th century national politics, their enduring historical legacy is forever anchored by the presidency of John F. Kennedy. And First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was a central part of that presidency. Thus, the story of the nearby Irving Street house where she and “Jack” lived in the summer and well into autumn before and during his presidency will have to be made part of the historical interpretation of the “big house” for visitors.

Jacqueline Kennedy in her Hyannis Port home, photographed at the time of her Camelot interview. (Life)

Of the many places she lived, Jackie Onassis said her Hyannis Port home was always the most important to her because, “it’s the only place we ever really lived together.” Days after his state funeral, she retreated her to join the extended family’s Thanksgiving weekend gathering. It was then that she bid Life magazine journalist Teddy White to the President’s House to express her thoughts on the tragedy. During the interview,  she famously gave the romanticized moniker of “Camelot” to his brief presidency. During her summers there from 1964 to 1968, the President’s widow continued her work on securing her late husband’s legacy. here she met with potential architects to design the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, implored author William Manchester to remove material from interviews she granted him for book The Death of a President, which she commissioned and penned a memorial essay for Look magazine,  not without a bit of friendly conflict from brother-in-law Bobby Kennedy who sought to tailor it in a way that might benefit his run that fall for the U.S. Senate seat from New York. Jackie insisted that she was “the writer” while he reminded her that, no, “you’re Jackie Kennedy.”

Bobby Kennedy looks at Jackie Kennedy, holding her son in the summer of 1964.

Except for a 1969 visit to the dying Joe Kennedy, after Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 assassination and her remarriage to Aristotle Onassis four months later,  Jackie Onassis did not return to the President’s House until 1975, three months after Onassis died. Saying she often felt “ghosts” there that overcome her with sadness, she moved into her own Martha’s Vineyard home six years later, returning for occasions like her daughter’s 1986 wedding.

Jackie Onassis in 1975, her first visit back to Hyannis Port since 1969. By 1981 she moved to her own new home in Martha's Vineyard (right).

After his mother’s 1994 death, John Kennedy, Jr. lived in the President’s House alone and then with his wife Carolyn Bessette after their marriage two years later, until his own 1999 death. Though bringing in art and other touches reflecting his generational taste, he kept the presidential-era furnishings intact. The bedroom, for example, still had his father’s golf club bag and windbreaker with the presidential seal, still in the closet.

John Kennedy in The President's House photographed in 1997 by his friend William Slyvester Noonan from his book Forever Young.

In 2005, as the surviving member of the presidential family and solely responsible for a multitude of houses that had never been her own, all with thousands of objects in them, his sister sold his and all of the historic furnishings left in the President’s House, at a second highly-publicized Sotheby’s auction.  If the time comes when it is sold to someone outside the family with an interest in restoring it, auction photos document the object locations on the main floor rooms and reproductions could perhaps be crafted to simulate what it once looked like. The President’s House is now the property of  Teddy Kennedy, Jr. and his wife Kiki, and their two children.

The sun parlor of the President's House; photo inset against the Sotheby's catalog picture of the room's items being sold.

Dining Room of the President's House, where Jack once posed for the cover of Time Magazine..

Dining room of the President's House.

The President's Hose living room.

The stairs from the living room to the second floor of the President's House.

Bedroom in the President's House where Jackie once taught her daughter to paint.

The Bobby Kennedy House

The Robert Kennedy House, the Senator with several of his children. His widow Ethel, seen here with her son Joe’s twin sons Joe and Matt, and her son Bobby, who has a nearby property.

Ethel Kennedy has resided continuously at the Hyannis Port home that she and her late husband Robert Kennedy bought in the late 50s. Having sold her home in McLean, Virginia, she now lives there full-time. The Bobby Kennedy House was the working headquarters of  John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential election and campaign, starting weeks before the convention. It was here that the candidate, his brothers, sisters and their spouses gathered early on Election Day and stayed up throughout the night into the early morning, following the exit polls and awaiting news of  Kennedy’s razor-thin victory over Vice President Richard Nixon.

Watching the election returns as they began coming in the afternoon.

1960 election night. Teddy Kennedy and his sister Pat Kennedy Lawford.

1960 election night in the Bobby Kennedy House: Eunice Shriver, Ethel Kennedy, Peter Lawford, Joan Kennedy.

During the presidential years, the large number of children at the Bobby Kennedy House made it the gathering place for scheduled play activities of all the third-generation cousins.

Bobby and Ethel Kennedy in one of the family's famous touch football games, Teddy Kennedy at left, shortly after JFK's 1960 election

Bobby Kennedy holding his son David on the driveway outside his parents' home.

Joe and Rose Kennedy's grandchildren play on the Bobby Kennedy House lawn.

As a widow, Ethel Kennedy raised her large and active brood of children on her own.

Great-grandson of Joe and Rose Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy, IV, running for Congress.

Not only did all of her eleven children mature into adulthood during their summers there, but the house remains full and busy with her many grandchildren who now come to visit her there. Among them is Joseph P. Kennedy, IV, the son of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy’s eldest child, former U.S. Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy, III. From the time John F. Kennedy first went to Congress in 1947 until the end of his nephew Patrick Kennedy’s tenure as Congressman from Rhode Island in 2011, a Kennedy family member was continuously in the legislature. Joseph Kennedy, IV, twin to his brother Matthew, may mark the family’s return to Washington, having recently announced his 2012 candidacy for the Congressional seat of retiring House member Barney Frank.

Some of Ethel Kennedy’s children, including sons Max and Bobby, Jr. have bought homes nearby, though long after the presidential years. Other cousins, such as Maria Shriver, also have homes in the area.

2011. The last surviving member of the second-generation Kennedy siblings, Jean Smith talks to sister-in-law Ethel Kennedy who now lives permanently in the Bobby Kennedy House.

The Teddy Kennedy House

The Teddy Kennedy House where Teddy lived with his first wife Joan and three children, Patrick and Kara seen here The President's family rented it in the summer of 1963 It remains Joan Kennedy's property.

Located on a spit of land known as Squaw Island, Teddy Kennedy lived in a home here with his wife Joan and their three children from the late 1950s until 1982. Once owned by her own family, the Bennetts, Joan Kennedy has continued to live in the property she now owns, even after she and Teddy divorced in 1981. In the summer of 1963, the Teddy Kennedy family loaned the home to President Kennedy and his family. Here they came after the death of their infant son Patrick and where the President granted a CBS interview on the lawn to Walter Cronkite.  Despite the divorce and remarriage of her former husband, Joan Kennedy is included in the extended family’s gatherings, from holidays to the recent groundbreaking for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, next to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

President Kennedy being interviewed by Walter Crokite on the Teddy Kennedy House lawn.

Another view of the President's Cronkite interview at the Teddy Kennedy House lawn.

Jackie Kennedy with her son on July 4th 1963 outside the Teddy Kennedy House.

The President's family at Brambletyde, the Teddy Kennedy House in August 1963.

A pregnant Jackie Kennedy on Squaw Island as a helicopter lands with the British Ambassador David Gore-Ormsby for a meeting with the President.

Kitchen area of Teddy Kennedy house.

Joan Kennedy at her Kennedy Compound home with daughter Kara shortly before her 2011 death, holding her as a child 1963 and at her 2011 funeral holdig the hands of her grandchildren, Kara's children.

Joan Kennedy at her home with daughter Kara shortly before the latter's 2011 death, holding her as a child 1963 and at her funeral holdig the hands of her grandchildren, Kara's children.

The Kennedy Compound and its Legacy

The Joe and Rose Kennedy House may not technically be President Kennedy’s House, but his story is an integral part of the big house’s narrative, where his congressional, senate and presidential bids were planned and executed. Further, the house is testament to how much of his success and rise to the presidency was achieved by the driving ambition of his father, the faith of his mother and the purposefully united effort of his siblings and in-laws. As a public institution and, at some point, an historic site opened to the public, the Joe and Rose Kennedy House symbolizes something larger than one presidency; it will evoke the public service legacy of a family that produced three United States Senators who helped shape a half a century of national political issues.

The President, Attorney General and Senator. 1963.

In a statement released by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, Jean Kennedy Smith, the former Ambassador to Ireland and the last of her generation, eloquently summarized the meaning to her of the Joe and Rose Kennedy House being used as a study center and eventually being opened to the public as a museum. In a way, it best summarizes the symbolism of the house:

“My parents created a very loving and exciting environment for our entire family here. Through their guidance and enthusiasm we developed our deep interest in American history and a very real desire to give back to our country in some capacity what we had received. It is a great tribute to my parents that it will now permanently be a place where thoughts and ideas are exchanged, and new generations of leaders can come for inspiration and guidance.”

A composite photograph made by a White House photographer of all the Kennedy second and third generation in 1961.

ADDENDUM: TO SEE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE RENOVATIONS TO THE RECENTLY-PURCHASED ROBERT F. KENNEDY HOME KNOWN AS “HICKORY HILL” IN MCLEAN, VIRGINIA, LONG THE PLACE OF POLITICAL AND SOCIAL GATHERINGS, GO TO: http://soundzen.org/

Jack and Jackie Kennedy Home Movies & Pictures of their Presidential Easters (carlanthonyonline.com)


Categories: First Families, History, Presidents, Regionality, The Kennedys

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70 replies »

  1. WOW — thank you Carl. Even I had not seen some of these photos. Thank you for putting the entire thing in historical perspective, too.

  2. What an extraordinary article, Carl! The photos and details are truly remarkable.
    A fascinating read…

    • Thank you Jan – seriously, that one took forever and just about killed me….who knew how tedious caption-writing could be? When I get a response like your’s though – it kinda pushes one along to do the next one…and the next…and the next….thanks again…C.

  3. Hi Carl,

    Awesome news, terrific article. Can’t wait to see how this all transpires.

    Am also most intrigued by your comments about the Ford house in the desert. Are there any details about that yet. I knew it was for sale but I didn’t think it had a chance of being used as a museum…as it should be. With Sunnylands poised to open this week, what a great little tourist destination Rancho Mirage could become for folks interested in such things. As a local with great love and respect for the Fords, I’d be very interested in getting involved with the project so please keep me posted if you become aware of information.

    As always, my very best to you,

    Nick

  4. Love your work. A few of the pics you i’d as Teddy’s house I thinkk were actually Brambletyde from 63. The Cronkite interview and the pics with dogs and family I believe are from that house, not Teddy’s.

    • Thanks Steve. Perhaps the name “Brambletyde” is throwing it off? Those pictures are from the summer of 1963 and it was the house used that summer by the President and it was the one that was once home to Senator Kennedy and Joan Kennedy, now the property of the latter. The Senator actually provided information about it to me during a 1996 interview I did for As We Remember Her (1997) and then The Kennedy White House: Family Stories and Pictures (2000) and he didn’t correct me about the houses – maybe he’d forgotten!

  5. Hi Carl,

    Here is a thought for a future column… perhaps a look inside Hickory Hill? If memory serves, it was recently sold by ESK (I think bought by AOL executive), and I believe the kitchen, etc, has been updated. Might be fascinating to look into, and I am sure with your background, you might even get access.

    Just a thought.

    • That is a good idea – and I wonder if there were any pictures taken of when Senator John Kennedy first occupied it, before selling it to his brother and sister-in-law? These “house” articles have wiped me out a bit – taken up enough time to equal ten other articles, I kid you not….Thanks kiddo, as always a good idea…..

      • I don’t think I have ever seen photos of house before sold to the RFKs (will have to think on it a bit). I think Arch Digest did photos of Hick Hill a few years ago — written by Susan Mary Alsop, perhaps? I remember it was in the spring, and the gardens were blooming and so pretty.

        My memory of the house were the fun parties — daquiris for everyone! Watch out the Brutus monopolizing the area in front of the bar! I just had the coolest conversation with William Styron! The amazing artwork (there was a few paintings by Yeats’ brother in the drawing room), and all the historical stuff casually lived with. And how much Ethel (still) loved Bobby.

        Your hard work is totally worth it. xoxooxo

    • as an rfk fan i support that idea… if u need pics just ask – posted a recent article about hickory demolishing work of restauration… it breaks my heart!

  6. Hi Carl,

    What a great article! I have always been especially fascinated by the Kennedy Compound and was very interested to see all of the pictures, some of which I was not familiar with. It’s striking how much of a family they really were. That may sound rather obvious, but I think we see their public images so much, we forget just how “normal” they were.

    Really looking forward to the article on the Ford house. Keep the “booklets” coming!

    All the best,

    Jake

    • I’m falling a bit behind in responding to messages here…but I hope you can see the Ford article did post today. Thanks for the feedback on the Kennedy Compound article – it was hell to write and organize – a fact that someone only like yourself who also does this can perhaps realize.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing. I really enjoyed the article and pictures.

    Ric
    Tarpon Springs, Fl

  8. awesome article – finaly a inside view of an amasing dynasty! thank you so much.

  9. The most comprehensive article with never seen before photo’s of the Kennedy Family! Love your work Carl! Thanks so much for bring history alive to someone who was raised during the Kennedy era!! GOD Bless you!!!

    • And thank you Bill for such an enthusiastic response – since I don’t get paid for any of this, I often decide to keep going based on reader response, so I genuinely appreciate your writing – thank you. Hope you got to join too, so you get future postings.

  10. Carl, I feel as if I’ve stumbled across a National Treasure in finding you! Your writing style, impeccable research and fresh photographs throw new light on a story so many of us feel we know by heart. Count me in as a new Subscriber! I can’t wait to sstart reading your other works. Why aren’t you syndicated and paid stacks of money for what you do? I shall be contacting the Graham family regarding your talent
    posthaste!

    • WoW….I mean WOW! What an extraordinary compliment. And your attention to detail about the effort I make in attention to detail only confirms my intention to maintain a certain quality of narrative and information. I so greatly appreciate it. If there was a way to apply for National Treasure pension I just might! :) And yes – you are dead-on correct about syndication and monetization for this website magazine (rather than a blog I think). The problem is, frankly…dare I write this publicly….I do not have the contacts with senior editors at large national magazines necessary to open such a discussion – my contacts are almost exclusively former and current journalism colleagues, many in the same boat. So any advice or advocacy is encouraged and appreciated. But even if not, please feel free to offer comments, observations, even disagreements. The big picture here is really to provoke thinking and a realization that fame, glory, wealth and achievement does not make those persons with personas any less human. Thank you so much Terrie for your encouragement.

  11. dear carl, shouldn’t the photo caption (inside the “bobby house” paragraph) of carrot-hair and senate-running great grandson Joe Kennedy, be numbered THE THIRD ? i´m lousy at these genealogical titles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Kennedy_II

    • No because it was his great-grandfather who was the first, then the older brother of the President killed at the end of World War II who was the 2nd, then the eldest son of Robert Kennedy who was the third, then his son, running for Congress now who is the 4th.

      • ok, so patriarch joseph is FIRST, pilot brother joe junior is SECOND, bobby oldest son joe is THIRD and latest joseph the FOURTH – so, wikipedia has it wrong (link)??? i though it was from father to son direct lining (and pilot joe junior has no sons)… also, bobby junior and his son, are correctly numbered (second & third) – sorry for my ignorance!

        • That’s right. And no it doesn’t have to pass father to father – think of hte Kings of France and England, they all don’t have the same names as their fathers and sons, and yet the Richard, Charles, etc. etc. will pass with a new digit down the line.

  12. This article is impressive. Rarely is my attention maintained due to such accuracy regarding history and painstaking research. Much of the information is new to me and I learned a lot. You could earn a lucrative sum by writing a book on these topics. I saw that you said you write for reader interest but its just a suggestion. Shall you decide to do so, I’ll be sure to reserve a copy of your volume.

    • Well you completely made my week. Thank you. I work hard on all the aspects of turning out engaging stories – including accuracy, so the fact that someone like yourself noticed means a great deal. And yes, I am developing several different book ideas from material here; if you see some of those books which I’ve had previously published, you will note most are biography; the material here has to be thought through for it to translate well into a readable storyline, but I am soon at that stage. I just really appreciate your vote of confidence. Thank you. One last thought – please do share the website magazine with others whom you think might also appreciate it. That’s the greatest help right now is just increasing the number of followers and hits to the stories.

      • I will definitely continue reading your articles myself, and recommend them to others. I’m not sure whether or not you have any interest in the homes and land of other past presidents but a compilation I’d imagine, would make great material. You brought to life the homes and land where John F. Kennedy and his family lived, reflected, and convened for tragedies along with triumphs. By connecting the Presidents to their homes and families along with their tenures in Washington, and their relations with not only the public but also to domestic and foreign leaders, might make for hours of interesting reading. That’s just my thought and I realize I’m long-winded but am looking forward to what you put together. Whatever the case, I am totally confident it’ll generate reader’s interest and will sell. Also, I must browse the shelves of my local library and bookstores in order to find copies of your previous works. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

        • A-ha – you are on to me. I do have several other of these stories in the works under a new banner of “The President’s Residence,” and yesterday introduced the first entry in another series called “Presidents On Presidents,” and then “First Ladies on First Ladies” to come – if I decide to continue the website. I need to seriously figure out advertising or monetizing within the next few weeks or cease this entirely. The amount of time I invest in it all is costing me by not spending it in otherwise remunerative work. Did you see the story on the Ford home in the Palm Springs area? I also have one on the McKinley home in Ohio and Nixon’s Western White House, La Casa Pacifica – but no time to edit.

          • I intended to be on here sooner. I’m very much interested in reading up on the Ford, Nixon and Warren homes and will do so very soon! When reading your work its somewhat humorous for me because I find myself rereading things and letting them soak in because it is such interesting information. Also, I discovered just today that you compiled and operate the First Ladies Library online. I’ve gone there and go there to find facts of interest to me. I’m equally impressed by it! It’s rare to see authors reply to their readers, something very noble. Now, let me get on to reading about the other presidential homes you’ve written about!

          • You are so, so kind in your comments. I wish I had the time I need to devote to this website to write, edit and illustrate so many more stories about Resident President, both a book and series project I’ve been developing. There’s so many other homes off-the-beaten track as well as so many that have been lost or are now in private hands that I intend to post here. Thank you – I needed that boost.

          • Honestly, its surprising to me that you have time to check the blog. When you’re a historian its easy to be sidetracked in a maze of reasearch, especially when the projects are of the significance of yours, I’m sure.Is there a single link for the Ford, Nixon, and Warren homes – or are they separate? For some reason I’m having trouble finding them.

          • They are listed separately. Look under Categories or type in Ford, Nixon – and you refer to Warren, do you mean Warren Harding? The other presidential home-related article is the one on the Kennedys.

        • Ok, I will search for them. Thank you. Sorry, yes I did mean Warren Harding. I found the Kennedy Compound article by chance during a search.

  13. Fantastic photos and text, so thanks! Can you tell us anything about the house currently for sale at 27 Marchant Avenue, next to Joseph and Rose Kennedy’s home? One website says it’s part of the Kennedy compound, but I don’t find any mention of Kennedys actually living there or currently selling it.

    • I’m just not sure. Without being there. It is more than likely one of the homes that was perhaps rented for many years by Jean Kennedy Smith and her family, Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her’s, or far less frequently by Patricia Kennedy Lawford and her family. Less likely but perhaps possible: back during the presidential years, it may have been rented and used as either office or Secret Service or other backup services for the President.

      • Well, it’s a fabulous house, anyway. If you were standing on the beach looking at Joe and Rose’s house, it would be the very large one just to the left, also right on the water. Built in 1928. The Kennedys seem to be making a mass exodus from the area. New generations, new interests, I guess. It’s always seemed a cold and windswept place to me. Almost no trees, for example. Though Rose still took her daily swim, whatever the weather!

        • Perhaps it will someday be incorporated into a larger site there, as a side museum of the decades of American history which took place in Hyannis as one of the world’s most famous towns associated with a legendary President. And yes, time has a way of changing families, faces, etc. without our even always noticing it. Thanks so much for writing – and hope you subscribed as a “follower” for updates on new pieces. Cheers.

    • That home belongs to the Colemans and has has never been rented to any of the Kennedy’s it is on the same private drive as the main house and Bobby Kennedy’s home.

      • Dear Emily – very greatly appreciate your providing that informational clarification for the reader who inquired. Thank you.

      • Thanks so much for explaining this. A real estate website claims it is part of the Kennedy ‘compound’, but I couldn’t see how that could be true. It seems like a house the family would have acquired long ago, had it ever been available when Joseph Kennedy’s children were acquiring houses there.

  14. im wondering if there are any more online photographs or floorplans of Joseph kennedy sr’s “big house” if anyone knows where they could be found please reply..

  15. Somehow I was trying to find out the name of Ethel’s dog and got onto this site….I too wanted to say that Brambletyde is now owned by Chris Kennedy, Ethel’s son. It was where Jackie stayed the winter of 63, after JFK died.
    I didn’t know Ted K owned it once, knew he had a Squaw Island home but not that one….
    if so Joan K would be still there, right?
    So many homes, so many relatives, Brambletyde is the home I find interesting, how many owners did Brambletyde have?

    • First of all thank you M. Driscoll for taking the time to write – I appreciate it. From what I recall off the time of my head – and this may be 100 percent incorrect – Teddy and Joan Kennedy always owned the Squaw Island house, but when they moved out to let the President and Mrs. Kennedy use it, they moved into the Brambeltyde House. And then, in the summmer of 1963, the President and his family used it while Teddy Kennedy and his family returned to the Squaw Island home. Again – this is what I picked up from AP and other reports written at the time. To affirm the facts, I would imagine that Hyannis Port’s JFK Museum or the JFK Library in Boston can confirm the history of each home and where the various branches of the family lived, at least during the summers of the campaign and the three summers of the presidency, who owned what house and who rented what house. I think it is also interesting to see how two family branches of third-generation siblings (RFKs and EMKs) have generally remained in the area while those of the JFK, Smith, Shriver, Lawford have not necessarily done so. Please do sign up to receive email alerts when new articles appear if you find the website magazine material interesting – but either way, thank you.

    • RFK dog names? well if its not BRUMUS the newfoundland nor MEAGAN the saint bernard and not even the famous campaign cocker spaniel FRECKLES, then maybe its TOBY BELSH, a english bulldog the couple had before having children, as mentioned in the epic documentary “kennedy lost home movies”… bobby and ethel had so many dogs (a boxer, a chihuahua even) that i only memorise these 4!

      • Thank you for that information – Soundzen to the rescue!

      • I remember in the late 1980s when I was around Hick Hill, Brumus was still alive and used to deposit himself in the living room in front of the bar at parties… you used to have to practically step over him to get to the bartender (he was roughly the size of a large six year old).

        ESK had two Cavalier King Charles dogs who were very (very) overweight and not trained at all (spoiled). They were rarely formally walked and were like walking footballs. You always knew she was coming down the stairs as they preceeded her, yapping away. I can’t think of their names at the moment.

        I also remember the bartender served AMAZING mint juleps (served in chilled silver cups). Have to say, they were fun parties (now that I think of it) — I remember meeting Bill Styron in a hallway (wow — were his sons CUTE), and Cesar Chavez and Provi… (separately), and all kinds of people showed up. For a history nut like me… wow. Seems funny (now) to think that I was there.

        • More Robert Kennedy family dog clarifications….thank you bunsy. I wish there was as clarified a timeline on the President’s family dogs too. Wonder if anyone knows what happened to Clipper the German shephard, Pushinka the US-Soviet mutt, Charlie the terrier and the later spaniel own by Jacqueline Kennedy and her children when they moved to New York. I have recently learned from Susan Eisenhower that Ike and Mamie’s Weimaraner Heidi had a boyfriend Weim at the Eisenhower Gettysburg farm called Hogan. Ah, the dogs. They’re all Kings in the Court of Fido.

  16. Carl—Many thanks for all your efforts in bringing Camelot back to life again! Your photos and information have brought to mind many of the people and events of the Kennedy years. Your work is truly outstanding!

    • Fran – Thank you so much for your extremely generous observations. I think it is important to always remind everyone, regardless of what periods of time they personally recall or what partisan political view they support that all these people, be they of any era or age, of any political view, are first and foremost human beings, who live not on some magnificent peak or enchanted land – however it sometimes serves larger purposes to have the world perceive them as mythic. I think the Kennedy family story has so many compelling human aspects to it – and much of it is instructional to all of us. The photographs do capture a particular period and those which are unstaged are always, to me at least, the most compelling. Thanks for taking the time to write – I genuinely appreciate it. And do share the website and encourage others to subscribe whom you believe might enjoy it. Cheers.

  17. Enjoyed your article immensely as, I have enjoyed your books. So happy I “found” your blog. Thank you!

  18. Brambletyde was owned by the Thun Family of Reading PA and was not the home of Ted and Joan -who had a different home on Squaw Island. I believe a son of Robert and Ethel now owns Brambletyde”

  19. Carl,Read a bood called “My Life with Jacqueline Kennedy” by Mary Barelli Gallagher regarding the houses rented. Jackie wanted to buy the Thun house but the owners wouldn’t sell. She had a floor plan of the house drawn. Don’t think they ever rented the Ted Kennedy house which may have been built later. Believe the sequence was ’61—there own(?), ’62–Morton Downey house on Squaw Island—rented theirs to his sisters and ’63–Thun house.
    PS—Enjoyed your interview with Nanct reagan back in the 90′s when you did a sweries of interviews with First Ladies.

  20. Mr. Anthony President Kennedy signed the lease to rent Brambletyde from Louis Thun on Feb 4,1963.The lease was signed to hold for 2 months and 15 days.

    • Michelle Morrissette – How incredibly impressed I am by your precision in not only searching down but also to finally provide this story with that one fact which it has sorely missed, and which clarifies a vague aspect of what proved to be a poignant last summer for him at Hyannis. Thank you.

  21. Great family photos of the Kennedy clan! I’ve always admired John Kennedy, as he was a true American hero. On the day he was assassinated, I was 17 days old, and my mother saw the tail end of the presidential motorcade as it roared past the garage apartment where we lived on its way to Parkland Hospital. I also have a replica of the 1961 Lincoln Continental X-100 Kennedy rode in when he died. I know that sounds macabre, but I view as more homage. A few years ago a man at my work commented that Kennedy’s assassination was one of the best days in American history. I all but ripped him a new one! Thanks for these pictures, Carl.

    • Thank you – how interesting about your mother – and how we all hold in our memory if not the real people at the center of such turning points but then the reliquary, the tactile objects associated with it. And then for you to have had a small version of what was the real part of her memory, I like that. Thank you for writing – and also0 your own great website – chiefwritingwolf.wordpress.com. Cheers.

  22. Dear Mr. Anthony,

    I am sorry that i did not respond sooner. The first Kennedy Summer White House was indeed the 111 Irving Ave. residence known as the President’s House to this day. (Now owned by Edward Kennedy Jr.). Because it was smaller than they needed, the next Kennedy Summer White House was the Morton Downey residence on Squaw Island. The last Kennedy Summer White House is the house at the point of Squaw Island that was owned by the Thun Family of Reading, PA. Jacqueline Kennedy loved the Thun House and wanted to purchase it.

    After the President’s death, Jacqueline Kennedy used the Irving Street House in the summer. After marrying Aristotle Onassis, she did return to the house at the occurrence of the tragedy of Chappaquidick. She facilitated meetings in her Hyannisport home (see the book by Mrs. Dallas, Joe Kennedy’s nurse). She also returned when Joe Kennedy was dying and stayed with him the whole night before he passed. She remained there for that Thanksgiving.

    If you read Marta Squbin’s cookbook, during the Onassis marriage, Jacqueline stayed at the Irving Street House during the month of August. She kept the home exactly as it was during the President’s life and no one even sat in his chair at the dining room table (see the book by John Jr.s friend – he also describes John Jr. being there after spending time on the Onassis Island, Skorpios. Mrs. Onassis stayed in the Hyannisport home until she built her Aquinnah home on Martha’s Vineyeard. She returned to the Hyannisport home for weddings, occasions, and reunions. I read a newspaper article that she stayed in the house during her last winter for a very short time in order to spend some time with Rose Kennedy.

    I hope this is helpful to you. I followed her life when I was a child and still have several books about her. I do not mean to be presumptuous but just wanted to relay my knowledge. Thank you for what you do – especially on the First Ladies.

    • Thank you for that Joe. I recall that much of the post-White House information is already noted in the article but it is worth repeating for readers and also greatly appreciated – that level of detail you provide to refresh the public record. And thank you for bringing clarity to which homes were used by the First Family in 1962 and 1963. Genuinely, seriously appreciated.

  23. I am working on a project for the NFL network on the Kennedy family. You have a bunch of great pictures in this post and I would love to chat about where you got them. Can you follow-up with an email address at which I can reach you? Thank you.

  24. Mr. Anthony,

    I SO appreciate all the work that you do–and am particularly impressed by how often you take time to make personal response to your readers; honestly, I have no idea how you find the time and still manage to carry out such voluminous research and writing!

    As a former teacher and amateur presidential historian (who’s been dabbling on a book of my own for more than a decade now), I’ve visited literally HUNDREDS of presidential homes & sites all over the country in all 50 states (including several that, sadly, are no longer in existence). I have been to both the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport and their Winter White House in Palm Beach–though I’m hoping to return to each for a slightly better look this year. (I’m particularly anticipating the day when one or both will finally be more accessible to the public–along with such sites as Rancho del Cielo and La Casa Pacifica–both of which I’ve seen from the OUTSIDE, but have never yet managed to enter!)

    While I never made it to the Fords’ home in Rancho Mirage, I was privileged to spend an hour with President Ford, one-on-one, in his summer home in Beaver Creek, CO (back in 2002)–when he very graciously allowed me to interview him for my proposed book. I was able to take some pictures of the outside of the house and of his 2nd-floor study in which I conducted the interview, but that’s about it.

    Like you, I sense that there’s an enormous interest in presidential residences–and that this is really still a largely untapped area. Even with the many books on this particular subject that have been published (including the new Hugh Howard volume), to date, NONE of them cover even a small fraction of the homes that I myself have been able to visit and photographs–so clearly a more comprehensive work is called for!

    I can already tell that I have HOURS of fun in store for me perusing your vast website; thanks for all your good work–your tireless dedication to a subject for which we both have an obviously lifelong passion is an inspiration!

    Christopher Burcham

    • Thank you Christopher. Your ongoing research project most definitely is of interest to me but I am absolutely certain to the general public. In the same general genre of presidential homes, beyond those still standing yet inaccessible to the public which you certainly seem to be a national expert on, I have a slew of articles in various stages of draft form I intend to publish on this website of “lost presidents’ residences” going back to the 19th century – those homes long gone that served as refuges for Presidents before, during or/and after their incumbencies or those homes where they lived for a length of time as public figures and which they left upon being elected and moving to the White House. I’ve discovered many detailed descriptions but alas there are few or none of them captured in some form of image, especially those pre-dating indoor photography or machine-printing of woodcuts or steel engravings. And, yes – this is an exhausting effort at times – satisfying and rewarding, providing a personal sense of discovery and learning and hopefully always improving my skills as a writer – but also costing me tremendous amounts of time. These last two weeks, for example, I have reduced the rate of new stories per week than my usual pace. I’ve just switched to a platform which now permits advertising and also hope to have my friend and web designer eventually make some great visual improvements. I’ve also gotten more regular sleep than usual by relaxing the pace a bit. As for responding to the public, that is an important part of this – otherwise it would be rather dead and self-centered – the point of sharing it is to also permit others interested in the topics to engage. And making the effort to leave a comment at the very least deserves a response. Cheers – and thank you. By the way, I also will eventually publish an article here illustrated by some previously unpublished images from inside La Casa Pacifica when it was the Western White House.

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