MENU OF STORIES
Whale Watching, 8/31/05
While you are in Quincy...
Quincy Historical Society, with new Quincy History Museum gallery, Adams Street.
Wollaston Beach, Quincy Shore Drive.
Thomas Crane Library, Washington Street. Original Henry Hobson Richardson granite-brownstone wing is on National Register of Historic Places.
U.S. Naval and Shipbuilding Museum, cruiser USS Salem, off Washington Street at Fore River shipyard.
National treasure next door
There's only one place in America where you can visit the home of two presidents, and it isn't far away.
Shaded by trees and graced by an English-style formal garden, the Adams National Historical Park is the former home of father-son presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams and generations of their descendants.
A national historic site since 1946, its national popularity soared when Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough turned John and Abigail Adams into bestseller celebrities with his 2001 biography. Almost 200,000 visitors now tour the "Old House" and other park sites each year.
John Adams called the two-story frame home "the farm of a patriot" when he and Abigail bought it in 1788. The surrounding farm and pastureland the family once owned was swallowed by the city's residential development long ago. Step inside the faithfully preserved house for a tour, though, and New England's post-Revolutionary War years come back to life.
An upstairs study is still furnished as it was when 90-year-old John Adams died there on the Fourth of July in 1826. Historical portraits and family memorabilia are on display upstairs and downstairs, as is an array of mechanical kitchen bells once used to call servants for errands.
In late spring, a York rose bush that Abigail planted near the garden is alive with blossoms. A mile away on Franklin Street, at the father-son birthplaces, visitors can stand in the room where John Adams wrote the Massachusetts state constitution in 1780. That document became the model for the U.S. Constitution.
Park tours also include the ex-presidents' final resting place, the United First Parish Unitarian Church - the granite "Church of the Presidents" where four generations of the Adams family worshipped. (The family pew is still marked with a nameplate.) John and Abigail, John Quincy Adams and his wife, Louisa Catherine, are buried there in a basement crypt.
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