You can read an author’s entire body of work, or celebrate the achievements of a civil rights hero, but nothing gives you a true understanding of a famous figure like a visit to the place she or he lived. We offer to your attention a few historic homes that deliver a thorough education and inspiration.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site: Brookline, Massachusetts
America’s 35th president was born and raised in the ritzy suburb of Brookline, and to this day, the unassuming home where he spent the first three years of his life stands as a monument. It’s a museum-like destination showcasing Kennedy family mementos and photographs.
Morris-Jumel Mansion: New York, New York
Morris-Jumel Mansion was built in 1765 on an elevated perch overlooking Manhattan in what is now the Sugar Hill neighborhood of Harlem. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton are just a few of the notables who dined in this country retreat. It was commissioned by Roger Morris, a colonel in the British Army, and his wife Mary. But in 1776 it was seized by the Continental Army and transformed into General Washington’s HQ.
About 35 years later, it was purchased by wealthy businessman Stephen Jumel who pulled out all the stops to refurbish it.
Harry S. Truman National Historic Site: Independence, Missouri
From 1919, the year he married Bess Wallace, until his death in 1972, President Harry S. Truman lived in a simple Victorian home in, fittingly enough, Independence, Missouri.
A wander through this home delivers an intimate look at the life of the World War I veteran and 33rd American President. Like most presidential homes and memorials, this one is part of the National Parks Service and tours by park rangers happen regularly. The home is so loaded with period details, family heirlooms, personal objects and memorabilia that a guided tour is well worth it.