Kennedy Compound Not Really a “Compound”

(Image courtesy wglenn)

This morning, traffic to one of our blog posts from last year, “The Kennedy Compound, Reagan’s House and Other Homes of Presidents” has been attracting a lot of attention due to the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, who passed away last night at his home in Hyannisport, MA after battling brain cancer.

As I looked at the blog post, there was a lengthy comment left by “wglenn” who must live near the Kennedy Compound, located at 50 Marchant Ave, Barnstable, MA 02630. This is what he had to say about the Kennedy Compound:

To clarify, the Kennedy compound is not really a compound in the true sense.

The houses along Irving Avenue – JFK & RKF’s and Marchant Avenue are comprised of three separate – rather small plot but adjacent houses with the main waterfront house (in all the photos) originally owned by Joe & Rose and now owned by Sen. Kennedy who occupies the main house off & on throughout the year. This is the only waterfront property.

In late 1956 JFK purchased a modest but sizeable house (in aerial photos it is the house toward the upper left corner second to the left from Joe & Roses) on the corner of Irving Avenue and Robert purchased a similar modest house between JFK’s and directly behind (North) Joe & Roses. Interestingly, JFK’s house is heated by steam radiators fired by oil…very New England.

RFK’s side yard abutts JFK’s side/back yard. RFK’s back yard abutts Joe & Rose’s back yard. Thus the area is still a Cape Cod residential street with nicer than average but not lavish homes.

Extended family members, e.g. cousins, 3rd generation Kennedy’s, etc. have homes in the immediate area but are not contiguous to the three original properties which to this day remain separately titled properties.

Other than stockade around portions of JFK’s place and rail fencing around RFK’s there is no security fence or closed streets albeit Marchant Ave at the end of which becomes a private drive of 20 feet or so into Joe & Roses place.

When the Senator is at home there is generally a Mass. State Police car parked on Marchant Ave. to deter curiosity seekers but the road remains public and if you’re discrete on winter days you can walk down Marchant to the edge of the driveway to Joe & Roses for an unobstructed view of the Big house. Don’t linger, be bothersome, or hang around and point, and you will otherwise not be bothered.

Caroline after her mother and brother’s death inherited JFK’s place sold it in 2005 to Sen. Kennedy. Prior to the house sale Caroline put up via Sotheby’s objects and furnishings from the JFK house. She spends her Cape time on Martha’s Vineyard at a newly constructed house that replaced the one her mother built (which Caroline had torn down…no emotional issues there, eh!).

I am guessing but assume JFK’s house is used occassionally by Caroline but otherwise as overflow accomodations when Sen. Kennedy or Ethel have a gathering or distant Kennedy relations need a grace & favor summer place to stay.

Robert’s wife Ethel in recent years has spent most of her time year round in the RFK house and permanently moved there in 2005 from the large Hickory Hill Virgina property which she sold in 2008.

To the right (right of the tennis court) of Joe & Roses is another large waterfront house that you would think is part of the compound. It is not and belongs I believe to E. Koch, President/owner of Koch industries.

Interior photos of JFK’s house can be found at:

This morning, reports that the Kennedy Compound might be turned into a historic property like FDRs home in Hyde Park, NY or turned over “… to a national nonprofit group, possibly to be opened up as a museum or retreat center. ”