Adams National Historical Park | PARK AT A GLANCE

John and son John Quincy Adams's birth homes in 1849 (painting by G. N. Frankenstein, provided by National Park Service)

John and son John Quincy Adams’s birth homes in 1849 (painting by G. N. Frankenstein, provided by National Park Service)


Adams National Historical Park preserves the birth homes of the second president of the United States, John Adams, and the sixth president, John’s son John Quincy Adams. These are the oldest presidential birth homes still standing. The Old House at Peacefield*, the estate that John and his wife Abigail purchased when they returned to the United States after the American Revolution, is also part of the park. All three houses can be seen by guided tours only.

While John and John Quincy are certainly the main focus, the National Park Service bills the park as Four Generations of the Adams Family. Members of the third and fourth generations under discussion are Charles Francis Adams (John Quincy’s son) and Henry and Brooks Adams (Charles’s sons). John Quincy Adams had other children, but Charles, and likewise his sons, are included in the narrative because they lived at or spent a lot of time at Peacefield. Brooks, the very last resident, had no children, so he left the house to the Adams Memorial Society when he died in 1927. This group of surviving Adams Family members preserved the home as a museum up through 1946. When the house became too expensive to maintain, they donated it to the National Park Service, and the Adams Mansion National Historic Site was created. In 1952, the park was renamed Adams National Historic Site.

In 1970, the park was enlarged to include the United First Parish Church in Quincy. Both John and John Quincy, along with their wives, are buried in the basement crypt. The church still operates as a functioning church, but it does offer tours that visit the graves of the two presidents.

The birth houses themselves remained in the Adams Family up through 1940. From 1784, when John and Abigail moved out, up until 1896, the family used the houses and surrounding farmland as rental properties. In 1896, the Quincy Historical Society and the Adams Chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution took over the management and maintenance of the houses and opened them to the public. In 1940, the houses were given to the city of Quincy with the caveat that the city pay for maintenance and keep them open to the public (the two preservation societies still managed them). However, as the houses deteriorated over the ensuing years, the city could no longer afford to maintain them. In 1978, legislation was passed in Congress to acquire the houses for the Adams National Historic Site. The National Park Service embarked on a multi-year restoration project to return them to their mid-1700s appearances, and in 1984 they were reopened to the public. In 1998, the current Adams National Historical Park was created so the National Park Service could oversee and manage all of the various properties associated with the Adams Family.

In addition to the house tours, there is a Visitor Center on Hancock Street where you can purchase tour tickets and watch a half-hour film on the four generations of Adamses who lived in the homes.

*The National Park Service refers to the Adams estate as Peace field. However, in the letters of John and Abigail, the way the name is written flip-flops between Peace Field, Peacefield, and Peace field.


Tours of the houses at Adams National Historical Park are given seasonally, typically from May 1st to October 31st. The first tour is at 9:15 PM and the last at 3:15 PM. The houses are closed during the winter, but the ground remain open.

The Visitor Center is open year-round so people can buy National Park passes, books, and souvenirs, but hours change depending on the season. When the house tours are given, it is open from 9 AM to 5 PM every day. In the off-season it is typically open only on Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 AM to 4 PM. To get the current schedule visit the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for Adams National Historical Park.

The United First Parish Church offers tours of the building and crypt. The schedule follows closely to that of the National Park Service’s house tour schedule. For the current times and dates, see the church’s Visitor’s Program web page.


There is a fee to tour the houses at Adams National Historical Park for those over the age of sixteen. Tickets are sold at the Visitor Center (National Park Service passes are accepted for admission). Tickets are good for seven days, so you can come back and take the tour multiple times if you want, though each time you are subject to securing a spot on a first come, first served basis. For the latest prices, see the National Park Service’s official Fees and Reservations web page for the park.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no fee charged for tours of the church and crypt given by the United First Parish Church, but donations are encouraged.


The main activity at the park is the tour of the John and John Quincy Adams birth homes and the family’s larger Peacefield estate. Tours take two hours. However, because spots on the tour are only available on a first come, first served basis, waits of up to two hours are not uncommon during the summer. The Visitor Center is in downtown Quincy, so there are shops and restaurants nearby where you can spend time while waiting for your tour. The only other activity is watching the 27-minute film Enduring Legacy: Four Generations of the Adams Family at the Visitor Center. Therefore, plan to spend at least three hours at the park, and possibly longer on a busy day.

Back to the Top

Last updated on June 1, 2020
Share this article