Happy 96th Birthday to the National Park Service.

Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Saturday, August 25, 2012

We would spend today visiting a few of the lesser known National Park sites around Boston.  We started out at the Longfellow House. Built in 1759 for John Vassall, a merchant and ardent loyalist, this house stood among other magnificent estates belonging to British sympathizers.  The Vassall family would leave this house on the eve of the Revolution to return to England, never to return. 

It was to this house in July of 1775 that General George Washington would arrive.  He and Martha would reside here until March of 1776.  He used this house as his  headquarters and received dignitaries and fellow patriots along with plotting strategy with his fellow generals. 

In 1797 Andrew Craigie, the nation's first Apothecary General ( similar to today's Surgeon General ) and his wife Elizabeth bought this house.  At Andrews death  Elizabeth was forced to turn the home in to a boarding house.  One of her tenants was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a young Harvard professor and up-and-coming poet.  When Elizabeth Craigie died in 1843 Longfellows fiance's father purchased the house as a weddigg gift.  The house would stay in the Longfellow family until 1972 when it was given, along with all the original furninshings, to the National Park service. 

Longfellow felt a stong connection to the houses tie to George Washington, which is very evident on the guided tour.  It is an interesting bit of history and one that we are glad we took the time to visit.  From here we made a short drive over to the town of Brookline and the National Park that preserves the birthplace of John F. Kennedy.

In 1914, newly weds Rose and Joseph Kennedy moved into their first home at 83 Beal Street in Brookline.  Both Rose and Joseph were grandchildren of immigrants and children of politically prominent fathers.  The house was located in a largely middle class, street car suburb of Boston.  The family would live here from 1914 until 1920 and the first four of their children would be born here, including the future president. 

In 1966 Rose Kennedy would repurchase this home and have it re-furnished as she remembered.  The house contains some original items.  The Kennedy family donated the house to the National Park Service 'as a gift to the American people' and the site was opened ot the public in 1969.  Tours are given on the 1/2 hour between Memorial Day and Labor Day and we found it very interesting - I came away feeling like I would have like to have known Rose. 

Our last stop of the day was the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.  We had tried to visit here in 1993 but it was closed.  So, I guess you can say we've been waiting 19 years to see it.  It is fairly small but well done and definitely worth the wait. 


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