Hyannis and Hyannis Port

Hyannis Port November 16th 2013
Kennedy residence and John F.Kennedy Museum

At the beginning of the 17th century, many English farmers settled at Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The small village Hyannis Port became famous for its fishery and its wonderful coast line and already at the end of the 19th century, the fishermen’s village developed into a resort for many famous inhabitants of the nearby city Boston. People like the US Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Grover Cleveland spent their summers at the beaches of Hyannis Port and they should be accompanied by a third President.

The maritime air also attracted Joseph P. Kennedy and his wife Rose to Hyannis in 1929. After the family’s move to Riverdale, Joe and Rose did not want to loose their connection to their old hometown Boston and decided to get a summer house on a one acre large piece of land with view over the harbour. From now on, the Kennedy Clan would spent the summers there and it would become the stage for many fond memories of their nine children, but also for the darkest chapters in the family history.

In the following years, Joseph modernized and enlarged the estate and adapted it to the needs of his family. The main mansion alone had 14 bedrooms, nine bathrooms, one theatre and one movie hall. Furthermore, two guest houses, a swimming pool and a tennis court were built. During the summer vacations, the so-called „Kennedy Compound“ was a kind of family bootcamp. Swimming, sailing, tennis, touch football, several coachers were hired to get the children make their best. The children also learned in Hyannis Port to enjoy the life on the countryside and close to the sea, what became a fix part of the family life.

In 1956, John F. Kennedy and Jackie also purchased a smaller house with four bedrooms on the territory and thus started the golden times in Hyannis Port. On election day, all Kennedys came together in Hyannis Port and in almost every room of the different houses, TVs were switched on. According to a popular anecdote, all family members gathered in the parent’s house and when the results were out, they all stood up. He was no more only Jack, but another President was living in Hyannis Port. Furthermore, he was the first catholic President of the United States of America.

Close to the Kennedy Compound there is the St. Francis Xaver Church. In the 20’s already, Rose and Joseph visited the church regularly and in the next 60 years it became the main spot for most of the family members, too. The Kennedy’s held weddings there and funerals and soon the locals renamed the small church „Kennedy Church“. President John F. Kennedy visited the Sunday mass regularly during his summers in Hyannis Port. During his term, the Kennedys were always sitting in the second row of the church benches. In front of them and behind was always space for the Secret Service.

Even today, the Kennedy spirit is everywhere in the coast village. Just some steps away from the church there is the John F. Kennedy-Hyannis Museum. More than 50,000 visitors travel to Cape Cod each year to see how one of the most prominent families of the country had spent its summer vacations. Although the property is well protected from curious eyes and can only be seen from the water, it is not unusual to meet members of the Kennedy or Shriver family on the streets of the fishing village or in the local Hyannis Port Yacht Club. These estates and the village Hyannis Port represent the spirit of the Kennedy Clan. This is the place where they gathered, in happiness and sadness, in order to renew mind and strength.

John F. Kennedy Museum, Hyannis

397 Main St, Hyannis, MA 02601, Telefon:+1 508-790-3077, United States of America

The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum Foundation preserves and promotes the legacy of President Kennedy, his family, and their deep connection to Cape Cod.

John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum is a multimedia exhibit designed to open a window on the days JFK spent on Cape Cod; days relaxing with family, days as President of the United Sates when the Cape provided a time to relax and be reinvigorated and days spent sailing on the ocean to which he was so constantly drawn.

The Museum’s exhibits feature videos and photographs spanning the years from 1934 to 1963 and is arranged in thematic groups to reflect John F. Kennedy, his family, his friends and the Cape Cod he so dearly loved. In addition to photography, a video narrated by Walter Cronkite depicts the president’s experiences on the Cape. Several themed areas include personal histories of JFK’s friends.

„He inspired a whole generation. He was our 35th President and our neighbour.“