Few things in life are as precious as your home. For many, it’s the one place in the world you can let your guard down and be yourself. Without a strong home, many would struggle to be productive and satisfied in our day-to-day lives. Perhaps no private home is more famous in American History than the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport, Massachusetts. Starting as a cottage Rose and Joseph Kennedy rented for a couple of summers, it quickly turned into a sprawling compound for the ever-growing Kennedy clan; a sanctuary from the political turmoil of their everyday lives, a haven to grieve countless tragedies, a celebration ground for immaculate triumphs, and a vessel for the legacy of the Kennedy family to be turned over. Indeed, it’s nearly impossible to think about the legacy of the Kennedy family without mentioning Hyannisport.


In 1926, Joseph and Rose Kennedy began renting the Malcolm Cottage located in the Hyannisport Club. It only took a couple of years for the Kennedy Family to fall in love with the property, purchasing it for $25,000 in 1928 and making numerous renovations and extensions to the house. John F. Kennedy was nine at the time, clueless that this would become his base of operations in his 1960 presidential campaign.


In 1928, Joseph and Rose Kennedy, parents to three future political leaders, bought the summer house they had been renting in HyannisPort, Massachusetts. In time, their children established homes on adjacent properties. (JFK Library)


As the children of the Kennedy Family came of age and started families of their own, they decided they also wanted to purchase property in Hyannisport. In 1956, John Kennedy purchased a home in Hyannisport, and Ted followed suit shortly after. These three adjacent waterfront homes make up what is known today as “The Kennedy Compound.”

The Kennedys welcomed Massachusetts legislators to Hyannis Port on June 10, 1955. U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline are in the center, amidst the guests. (JFK Library)


It’s safe to say that Hyannisport was a sanctuary, a getaway for the Kennedy family. That privacy was a luxury no longer afforded with the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy in the late 50s. In a near instant, Hyannisport was thrown into the national spotlight, with journalists and photographers swarming the compound to glimpse the life of the then-democratic presidential candidate and his family. The property was so bustling with political activity that it became known within the family as “The Summer White House.” After JFK’s election, the compound continued to be used extensively for business and pleasure throughout the remainder of his life.


While in Hyannis Port for Thanksgiving, the President invites officials over to discuss military spending. Instead of a White House boardroom, the group plans the defense budget in cozy living room chairs surrounded by floral decor. (Bettmann/Getty)


Hyannisport remained the epicenter of the Kennedy Family for decades. In 2009, upon the wishes of the late Edward Kennedy, the property was gifted to the EMK institute for charitable use. The house remains in the ownership of the EMK Institute to this day, with Ethel Kennedy still residing in her home on the compound.


JFK’s younger brother, Ted Kennedy, shares a laugh with his wife, Victoria, inside his mother’s pastel green living room. He lived at the main house on the compound after selling his estate to brother Robert in 1961, and stayed there until his passing in 2009. In 2012, Joseph and Rose Kennedy’s property was gifted to the EMK Institute, fulfilling their wishes that the historic building would be preserved for charitable purposes. (Boston Globe/Getty)


Want to learn more about the famed Kennedy compound? Check out our episode covering it here! Be sure also to check out our Kennedy Compound sweater at our merch shop! Thanks for reading!