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Kennedy Compound Review
Hyannis Port became a hot spot for Americans during the Kennedy presidency, when the Kennedy Compound became the summer White House. The days of hordes of Secret Service agents and swarms of tourists trampling down the bushes are gone, and the area is once again a community of quietly posh estates—though the Kennedy mystique is such that tourists still seek it out. The best way to get a glimpse of the compound is from the water on one of the many harbor tours or cruises.
Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy bought their house here—the largest one, closest to the water—in 1929 as a healthful place to summer with their soon-to-be-nine kids. (Son Ted bought the house before his mother's death in 1995.) Sons Jack and Bobby bought neighboring houses in the 1950s. Jack's is the one at the corner of Scudder and Irving, with the 6-foot-high stockade fence on two sides. Bobby's is next to it, with a white fieldstone chimney. Ted bought a home on Squaw Island, a private island connected to the area by a causeway at the end of Scudder Avenue. It now belongs to his ex-wife, Joan.
The compound is relatively self-sufficient in terms of entertainment: Rose Kennedy's former abode (with 14 rooms and nine baths) has a movie theater, a private beach, a boat dock, a swimming pool, a tennis court, and a sports field that was the scene of the famous Kennedy touch-football matches. Maria Shriver, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, and other family members have had their wedding receptions here. In the summer of 1999 family members waited at the compound, with local and international media lining the streets, for confirmation of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s death in a plane crash off Martha's Vineyard. He and his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, were flying her sister Lauren Bessette to the Vineyard before continuing on to a cousin's wedding in Hyannis; all three were killed.
A year after Senator Edward Kennedy's death in 2009, there was still no official word as to the future of the compound. There has been some speculation that the late senator's home may become a museum.
- Address: Ocean St. south of Channel Point, Hyannis Port, Hyannis, MA, 02601
- Location: Hyannis
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