Massachusetts: Other Historic Sites Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Massachusetts was one of the original thirteen colonies, and its capital, Boston, is considered the cradle of the American Revolution.

Adams National Historic Site

Location: Quincy, Norfolk County

Relevant issues: Political history

Web site: www.nps.gov/adam/

John Adams Birthplace

Statement of significance: John Adams (1735-1826), first vice president and second president of the United States, lived here from his birth in 1735 until his marriage in 1764. Built in the saltbox style, much of the original fabric remains.

John Quincy Adams Birthplace

Statement of significance: John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), sixth president of the United States, was born here in 1767. His father, John Adams, had moved here in 1764 and used one room as a law office for several years.

American Antiquarian Society

Location: Worcester, Worcester County

Relevant issues: Cultural history

Statement of significance: Established in 1812, this organization was the third historical society founded in the United States and is an important repository for early Americana.

Boston Naval Shipyard

Location: Boston, Suffolk County

Relevant issues: Business and industry, military history, naval history

Statement of significance: From 1800 to 1974, the Boston Naval Shipyard functioned as one of the most important shipyards in the United States. It pioneered modern ship construction and for more than a century manufactured most of the Navy’s rope.

Bowditch Home

Location: Salem, Essex County

Relevant issues: Science and technology

Statement of significance: From 1811 to 1823, this structure was the home of Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838), who effected great advances in navigation and helped bring European mathematics to America. He is responsible for The New American Practical Navigator (1802).

Brandeis House

Location: Chatham, Barnstable County

Relevant issues: Legal history

Statement of significance: Louis Brandeis (1856-1941) was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. He often stood with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes against the Court majority.

Bryant Homestead

Location: Cummington, Hampshire County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: Poet and critic William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) lived here until early manhood and made his summer residence here in the later years of his life (1865-1878). He composed some of his best-known poems in this house.

Fruitlands

Location: Harvard, Worcester County

Relevant issues: Cultural history, social reform

Statement of significance: This modest farmhouse served as the home for Bronson Alcott’s New Eden (1843-1844), an experiment in communal living modeled on the ideas of this leading education reformer, Trancendentalist, and social philosopher.

Fuller House

Location: Cambridge, Middlesex County

Relevant issues: Social reform, women’s history

Statement of significance: Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), a nineteenth century writer, teacher, intellectual, and reformer, was born here and lived here until 1826. Her Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845) has been called “the first considered statement of feminism in this country.”

Goddard Rocket Launching Site

Location: Auburn, Worcester County

Relevant issues: Science and technology

Statement of significance: Dr. Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945) launched the world’s first liquid-propellant rocket here in 1926, setting the course for future developments in rocketry.

Kennedy Birthplace

Location: Brookline, Norfolk County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), the thirty-fifth president of the United States, was born and spent his infancy here, in a house that his father purchased in 1914 and sold in 1921.

Kennedy Compound

Location: Hyannis Port, Barnstable County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: Six acres of waterfront property, containing several Kennedy summer and vacation residences. One of them served as John F. Kennedy’s Summer White House.

Longfellow House

Location: Cambridge, Middlesex County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: Home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) from 1837 to 1882. In his day, he was widely regarded as America’s greatest poet.

The Mount

Location: Lenox, Berkshire County

Relevant issues: Literary history, women’s history

Statement of significance: Some of the best works of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Edith Wharton (1862-1937) were written here, including Ethan Frome (1911), set in a rural New England area similar to Lenox.

Nantucket Historic District

Location: Nantucket, Nantucket County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: The American whaling industry originated here, and the town of Nantucket remained the leading American whaling port until the 1840’s. A number of houses on Main Street were built by wealthy whale-oil merchants during that period.

New Bedford Historic District

Location: New Bedford, Bristol County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Web site: www.rixsan.com/nbvisit/attract/histdist .htm

Statement of significance: New Bedford’s growth as a whaling port began shortly after the town was established in the early 1760’s. In the 1840’s, New Bedford superseded Nantucket as the most important U.S. whaling port. The wealth produced by whaling is evident in the structures in the historic district.

Old Deerfield Historic District

Location: Deerfield, Franklin County

Relevant issues: Colonial America, western expansion

Statement of significance: An early outpost of New England’s northwestern frontier, Deerfield was laid out in 1666 and settled a few years later. It was attacked and destroyed several times during French and Indian raids. It is now restored to its colonial appearance.

Old Ship Meetinghouse

Location: Hingham, Plymouth County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture, colonial America, religion

Statement of significance: Built in 1681, this is one of the oldest English Colonial houses of worship standing in the United States. The name derives from the curved roof timbers, which resemble an inverted ship’s hull.

Olmsted House

Location: Brookline, Norfolk County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture

Statement of significance: From 1883 to 1903, this was the home of pioneer landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), who developed New York’s Central Park, planned some eighty other urban parks, and was involved in numerous preservation projects.

The Parsonage

Location: Natick, Middlesex County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: Horatio Alger (1832-1899), a minister and the author of popular rags-to-riches books, spent his summers in this white clapboard parsonage.

Redtop

Location: Belmont, Middlesex County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: William Dean Howells (1837-1920), author, magazine editor, and influential literary critic at the end of the nineteenth century, wrote some of his most famous novels while residing here from 1878 to 1882.

Springfield Armory

Location: Springfield, Hampden County

Relevant issues: Business and industry, military history

Statement of significance: Until 1967-1968, this was the U.S. Army’s main research and development center and pilot manufactory for small arms. It was formally established as a federal arsenal in 1794.

Sumner House

Location: Boston, Suffolk County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: Charles Sumner (1811-1874) was an outspoken opponent of slavery who represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate from 1851 until his death. After the Civil War, he was one of the leading figures in the Radical wing of the Republican Party and played an influential role in foreign affairs.

Whittier Home

Location: Amesbury, Essex County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), writer, editor, and prominent abolitionist, lived and wrote here from 1836 until his death.

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