John F. Kennedy Memorial
The John F. Kennedy Memorial in Hyannis pays tribute to the 35th president of the United States, and to his legacy on Cape Cod. John F. Kennedy frequented Cape Cod, spending many summers on the peninsula. During his presidency, JFK created the Cape Cod National Seashore.
The Kennedys on the Cape
When John F. Kennedy was nine years old, his family rented a small summer house on the banks of Hyannis Harbor. At that time, JFK’s father, Joseph, was a successful Wall Street investor, making millions in the bull market of the Roaring Twenties. A few years later, the Kennedys returned to Cape Cod, bought the summer house in Hyannis Port, and rebuilt it as a seaside retreat for the family.
In the coming decades, the Kennedys spent many summers in their retreat on Cape Cod. JFK and his eight siblings spent the summer days sailing in the blue waters of Lewis Bay, an activity that would become a lifetime hobby for the future president. Even while he was in office, JFK often doodled pictures of the Victura, his childhood sailboat, in the margins of documents.
In his youth, JFK competed in sailing events up and down the East Coast, including in the Cape Cod area. In 1936, he won the Nantucket Sound Star Class Championship Cup at age seventeen. Two years later, he and his brother Joseph Jr. won the McMillan Cup and East Coast Collegiate Championships.
The John F. Kennedy Memorial
The John F. Kennedy Memorial in Hyannis, Massachusetts overlooks Lewis Bay, where JFK spent so many days on the water. The memorial consists of a bronze bust profile of the president, mounted on a simple stone wall. The bust looks toward Lewis Bay while, on the other side of the stone wall, a bronze medallion of the Great Seal of the United States looks toward the town.
On the side of the wall opposite Lewis Bay, there is a reflecting pool with a small fountain. The fountain, which is lit from below, resembles a small fire as a tribute to the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame in Arlington National Cemetery. The residents of Barnstable County erected the John F. Kennedy Memorial in Hyannis in 1966, just a few years after the assassination.
The memorial in Hyannis was designed by a local architect and built by local contractors. Since the early twentieth century, the Kennedy family was a political force in the Democratic Party and the Irish Catholic community in nearby Boston. In Barnstable County and the surrounding areas, many people were eager to help commemorate the late president any way they could. The John F. Kennedy Memorial embodies the impact of JFK on the Cape.
The John F. Kennedy Memorial in Hyannis, which is located on Ocean Street, is easily accessible from Veterans Park Beach and the Hyannis Yacht Club.