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Adams National Historic Site

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1731; 1870, Edward C. Cabot; 1872, Cummings and Sears. 135 Adams St.
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Adams National Historic Site (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)
  • Adams National Historic Site (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

The Adams family occupied “the Old House” from 1787, when John Adams bought it while Envoy to the Court of St. James, until 1927. At the end of his presidency in 1801, John and Abigail Adams moved into a seven-bay, gambrel-roofed, two-story, Georgian, brickend, clap-boarded house, spacious when compared to their past home at 141 Franklin Street, a modest saltbox farmhouse. Some of the house's furnishings reflect the couple's time spent in Europe. Extensive renovations and additions made by the Adams family created its present configuration. Charles Francis Adams designed, with the help of Edward C. Cabot, a stone one-room fireproof library (1870) sited to the northwest of the mansion. In 1872 he asked Cummings and Sears to design a new carriage house for the estate, a U-shaped structure of granite and fieldstone. The gardens to the west include fruit trees and lilacs planted by Abigail Adams; a formal parterre planned by Abigail Brooks, wife of Charles Francis Adams; and a greenhouse. The National Park Service administers the Adams National Historic Site as a memorial to four generations of the Adams family, distinguished in public service and the intellectual life of the nation.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Adams National Historic Site", [Quincy, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 556-556.

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