John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site preserves the birthplace in 1917 and boyhood home of the 35th President of the United States. The modest frame house at 83 Beals Street in Brookline was the first home shared by the president's father and mother, Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, and represents the social and political beginnings of one of America's most prominent families.
Four of the nine Kennedy children were born while the family resided at 83 Beals ; Joe, Jr., John, Rosemary, and Kathleen. When John Kennedy was four years old, his parents sold the house and moved to a larger residence nearby, where they lived until 1927. A commemorative plaque was placed on the site by the Town of Brookline in 1961, the year of President Kennedy's inauguration. In 1965, the house was designated a National Historic Landmark and was later repurchased and restored by the Kennedy family as a memorial.
In donating the presidential birthplace to the National Park Service, Rose Kennedy said:
"It is our intention and hope to make a gift of this home to the American people so that future generations will be able to visit it and see how people lived in 1917 and thus get a better appreciation of the history of this wonderful country."
It was in this spirit that the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site was established in 1967. More than a million people from around the world have visited 83 Beals since it first opened to the public. Today the National Park Service presents guided tours of the house with its display of household furnishings, photographs, and significant mementos personally collected by Mrs. Kennedy. Many pieces in the museum collection are original to the 1914-1920 historic period, reflecting the lifestyle and various pursuits and interests of the Kennedys. A narrative tour produced by Mrs. Kennedy provides visitors with an evocative glimpse of family life in the early Brookline years. Park Rangers also occasionally offer tours of the nearby neighborhood that include stops by the second Kennedy home, schools where the children studied, and Saint Aidan's Roman Catholic Church where the family worshipped.