The house in which America’s second president, John Adams, was born is now part of the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Massachusetts. The park preserves the homes of several early leaders of the nation, including two Presidents (John Adams and John Quincy Adams); a U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain (Charles Francis Adams); and two writers and historians (Henry Adams and Brooks Adams). The second President of the United States of America, John Adams, was born in one of the two frame and clapboard houses of the salt-box type located in the park. His son, John Quincy, was born in the other, just 75 feet away. These two structures are the earliest surviving presidential birthplaces in the country.
The salt-box style home located at 133 Franklin Street in Quincy, Massachusetts was originally built in 1681. It was purchased by Deacon John Adams, the president’s father, in 1720 along with six acres of surrounding farmland. The frame and clapboard structure has a ground-floor room and upper chamber on either side of a central chimney.
Fifteen years later, on October 30, 1735, an event occurred which may have shaped the future of the country. John Adams was born in the house that day and would be raised in the home. During his childhood, his father instilled in him a passion for civic affairs and farming. His upbringing was also devoted to religious affairs. The young Adams boy was also lucky to be the son of Susanna Boylston, who came from one of Boston’s more elite families. She taught her sons to appreciate the lifestyle and customs of the upper-class society in the city. These values molded the young boy into a man who would add his signature to the Declaration of Independence and lead the country as its second President.
Deacon Adams purchased another tract to add to his land in 1744. When Deacon Adams died in 1761 his younger brother Peter inherited this house in which the boys were born, and John inherited the home on the land his father later purchased, which included a house that stood only seventy-five feet away. The future President purchased the property from his brother in 1774. John Adams and his wife, Abigail, lived in the home next door (the one which he had inherited) and rented out his birthplace during the American Revolution. Both homes were eventually sold to John Adams’s son, John Quincy Adams, in 1803.
Over the years, many improvements were made to the property. The leanto was an addition to the rear of the home, and the roof was extended over the leanto in a straight, uninterrupted line. The frontispiece that surrounds the main entrance was another later addition. It features two pilasters on either side of the doorway and a triangular ornament over the top. President John Adams’ third son, Thomas Boylston Adams, moved into the home in 1810. He added the parlor room and the paneling.
The property remained in the Adams family until 1940, when it was deeded to the City of Quincy. When the City became unable to pay the costs associated with maintaining the home, it was handed over to the National Park Service (1979) to commemorate the second and sixth presidents of the United States. Now, visitors can go the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Massachusetts to take a guided tour of the property. Tours are provided twice an hour during the warmer seasons. The historic homes are closed from mid-November through mid-April.