JFK’s Boston: Retracing the Footsteps of Kennedy

Although the City of Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, has long been an important historical and cultural hub in the USA, it has become synonymous with the legacy of one man: John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Known as JFK, the 35th president of the United States of America enjoyed a political success which was due, in part, to the Irish political machine that grew out of Boston in the early 20th century. Even today, visitors to Boston and anyone staying in Boston hotels can retrace the steps of this charismatic leader.

Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, Kennedy was born into a highly political and well-respected family, and their influence in the state’s capital is very obvious. From statues to plaques and even memorials, the city has honored almost every member of the Kennedy family in one way or another.

 

photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc

photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc

What’s really interesting about Kennedy’s relationship with Boston is the way that certain buildings hold intergenerational importance, such as Faneuil Hall, where JFK’s grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald made a triumphant speech after his election to Mayor in 1905. Later, in 1960, JFK delivered the final speech of his successful Presidential campaign from there. Two decades down the line, his brother, Ted Kennedy, would announce there that he was running for president in the next election.

Kennedy’s ties to Boston are many, and sites such as his old Senate Headquarters on Kilby Street hold special prominence. This is where Robert F. Kennedy managed JFK’s campaign and where he beat a major political opponent, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.

 

photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc

photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc

Elsewhere, the Irish Famine Memorial and the Old City Hall hold special relevance for the Kennedy family. The Irish Famine Memorial was created in 1998 and pays respects to all the Irish immigrants who settled in Boston after fleeing the poverty in their native Ireland. JFK’s great-great grandfather, Patrick J. Kennedy, was one of them and came to the USA in 1849.

The Omni Parker House Hotel holds fond memories for the Kennedy family. JFK’s grandfather had many a birthday party there. Tenderly, it was also where JFK asked for the hand of his future wife, Jacqueline Bouvier, in marriage.

Perhaps the most somber place for the Kennedys in Boston is the JFK statue on the State House Lawn. Dedicated in 1990 and designed by the artist Isabel McIlvain, the statue celebrates not only JFK’s life, but also the life and work of his grandfathers, who served in the State House in the late 19th century.

Everywhere you look in Boston there are reminders of JFK and the Kennedy family. Why not book a walking tour while you’re there and see what you can find?

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