A Visit To Kennedy's Childhood Home09:20
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John F. Kennedy's birthplace and childhood home on Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts. (Bill Ilott/Flickr)
John F. Kennedy's birthplace and childhood home on Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts. (Bill Ilott/Flickr)

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson paid a visit to John F. Kennedy's birthplace and childhood home, which is now a national historic site — the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site.

Sara Patton, the lead park ranger, took him on a tour of the president's home at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Mass.

The home was built in 1909, and the Kennedys lived there from 1914 to 1920. Patton said Kennedy's father took out a $6,500 loan to pay for the house.

Kennedy was a sickly child, and spent much of his early years in his bedroom with his teddy bear. His mother read books to him to pass the time.

Patton says some of the values that were instilled into Kennedy and his siblings were evident in the house and its decor.

The front parlor, which is the first room guests would have seen, was decorated with "rich rugs," a baby grand piano and European paintings that Kennedy's mother saw when she was a student abroad.

Patton said the room represented both what she valued and what she hoped to teach her children. She points out the family's subscription to National Geographic because it was "the magazine of explorers."

"That's really what the expectation was," Patton said. "The kids were supposed to be learning about new things in this room, and take them elsewhere."

Guest

  • Sara Patton, lead park ranger at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site.

This segment aired on November 19, 2013.

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