Adams National Historical Park is the only place in the country where the stories of two presidents can be told from birth to death. Today, we can still sense the presence of these men, their forebears, spouses, and descendants through visits to the Adamses' homes and gardens.
The 22 structures located on the three properties in the park—the Old House, the birthplace houses, and the Beale Estate—transport us back in time. We are reminded of when John Adams, our first vice president and second president, and his contemporaries captured the essence of colonial patriotism and fashioned the political doctrines that guide the United States to this day. The park teaches us about the courageous stand that John Quincy Adams, our sixth president and a staunch abolitionist, took in a courtroom to defend the Mendi people, who were abducted from Africa, sold to planters in Cuba, and later mutinied aboard the slave ship Amistad.
The United First Parish Church, a National Historic Landmark, was included within the park's boundaries by legislation passed in 1980 but is owned by the congregation. The church contains the Adams family crypt where the bodies of the two presidents and their wives are entombed.
The park preserves three cultural landscapes—the birthplaces, Old House, and Beale Estate. At present, the Old House landscape is the most intact. Significant flower gardens and orchards from the times when the Adams family lived on the premises are still found in the park. Beginning with the heirloom plants brought to Quincy by Abigail Adams in the 18th century, the gardens tell a story of changing tastes in landscaping.
The park's orchards have earned recognition as an outstanding example of a historic orchard in the National Park Service's Northeast Region. Highlights of the formal garden include the sweet bay magnolia that is listed as a threatened species by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a York rose bush transported from England by Abigail Adams in 1788, and a yellowwood tree that may have been planted by Louisa Catherine Adams.
—Center for the State of the Parks