I think this was my favorite part of the tour and my favorite place was the library and gardens.The Old House was a family home and unlike many historic locations it stayed in the Adams’ family until it passed in 1946 to the National Park Service creating the Adams National Historical Park.
The house was purchased sight un-seen while John and Abigail Adams were in England. Abigail remembered visiting as a child and thought it to be huge and elegant. It didn’t quite live up to her childhood remembrance. The farm was meant to be a place to spend retirement in “peace” hence the play on words of the name “Peace field”. John Adams said of the estate “It is but the farm of a patriot.”
Once again the restrictions of the museum came into play. We were invited to take all the pictures we wanted of the outside but no cameras inside. In fact, they almost didn’t allow me in because I had the DSLR and the ranger felt it was “too large” and should be left on the porch. Of course that wasn’t about to happen. When I said I would skip the tour instead he reluctantly let me come in.
I understand what he was doing. He wanted to be sure the furnishings were not touched or damaged including the wall paper on the walls. The only time we were allowed to touch anything was when we went to the 2nd floor. He gave us permission to touch the banister that went up the stairs. All of the furnishing in the Old House are original, not reproductions. there is even a copy of the Declaration of Independence framed and hanging on a wall. It was the copy that was given to John Adams as one of the original 56 signers of the document.
Since the house was not as grand as Abigail remembered it she went about expanding it, lengthening the building and raising the hight of the ceilings by lowering the floors on the addition. The is a step down when you leave the original building and move into the newer part.
Abigail added this room to entertain dignitaries and there were many that crossed her threshold including the Marquis de Lafayette.
John returned to the farm in 1801 and was joined by his son, John Quincy and his family. Charles Francis Adams, John Quincy’s son also took up residence here along with the historians of the family Henry Adams and Brooks Adams.Together this family amassed a huge library which was housed in a separate stone building next to the gardens.
The distinguished Adams’ lineage stretched from 1776 to 1946 starting with John and Abigail, then John Quincy and Louisa Catherine on to Charles Francis who married Abigail Brooks ending with Henry Adams and Brooks Adams.