On June 12, 1977, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at Columbia Point for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. President Kennedy originally picked a site in Cambridge next to Harvard for the institution, but that plan was abandoned due to complications and opposition in construction. The oceanfront site next to the University of Massachusetts Boston campus was chosen and architect I. M. Pei was selected by Jacqueline Onassis to design the building. It was opened to the public in October 1979. The memorial to our 35th president holds many exhibits and archives teaching about his beliefs, career, and the times that he lived in. - Leanne Burden Seidel and Lisa Tuite
Joseph Runci/ Globe Staff
March 31, 1964: The Architectural Advisory Committee for the John F. Kennedy Library felt that the proposed two-acre site next to the Harvard Business school along Storrow Drive was too small. They considered asking Harvard to turn over the adjacent site bounded by Storrow, Western Avenue, and the business school parking lot. The late president's first choice was the MTA yards opposite Eliot House at Memorial Drive and Boylston Street. His second was on Soldiers Field Road along the bend on Storrow Drive near Harvard Stadium. Both were too tied up in legal or political entanglements to permit an early start.
Joe Dennehy/Globe Staff
May 29, 1973: Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and Caroline Kennedy looked at the features of one of the proposed models by architect I.M. Pei for the John F. Kennedy Library. This 12.2-acre site in Cambridge was to be vacated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority during the next year. A 75-foot-high glass pavilion designated as the museum portion of the library complex was to tower above the brick buildings planned for the presidential archives, Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Kennedy Institute of Politics. This model was not used in the final design for the John F. Kennedy Library at Columbia Point.
Ted Dully/ Globe Staff
Feb. 10, 1975: The University of Massachusetts invited the John F. Kennedy Library Corp. to consider locating its proposed library and museum on the university's Boston or Amherst campus. The offer was made after a decade-old plan to build the Kennedy museum in Cambridge was finally abandoned. The announcement made by university President Robert Wood made clear that the UMass proposition was only for both the museum and the library together. The eventual parcel of land used for the construction at the Boston campus of UMass is seen in this photo.
Ulrike Welsch/Globe Staff
June 12, 1977: Three generations of Kennedys dug small scoops of muddy soil during groundbreaking ceremonies for the John F. Kennedy Library construction at the University of Massachusetts Harbor Campus. From left, Caroline Kennedy, Rose Kennedy, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, John Kennedy Jr., and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis did the ceremonial honors. Senator Kennedy marked the day by saying, "Here on this auspicious day, the voyage Jack began sails on in the library that will bear his name. In breaking ground today, we remember Jack. And in remembering Jack, we remember the best in our country and ourselves."
Ted Dully/Globe Staff
Oct. 11, 1979: John F. Kennedy's boyhood sailboat "Victura" was hoisted into place on the ocean side of the new JFK Library as Anthony Mederis, a painter from Fall River, put the finishing touches on the space frame in the pavilion of the library. Workmen were still carting away construction debris and planting shrubs before the grand public opening which was on Oct. 23.
Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff
Oct. 20, 1979: Senator Edward M. Kennedy and his wife, Joan, were joined at the John F. Kennedy Library dedication by President Jimmy Carter. Former House speaker John W. McCormack can be seen behind them. More than 7,000 guests listened to the speeches and heard the Boston Pops, led by Harry Ellis Dickson, who began the musical program with Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man."
George Rizer/Globe Staff
Oct. 23, 1979: The John F. Kennedy Library at Columbia Point had an estimated 8,000 visitors on its first day. Originally just 5,000 people from South Boston and Dorchester were invited to view the library as "neighbors" on the first day. But no one was turned away who did make the trip.
David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
June 12, 1980: Fourth graders from Lexington's Fiske School display a 6-by-10 foot quilt they made and presented to the John F. Kennedy Library. The children began work four months earlier on the green banner, which bore patches representing quotations from the late president and scenes from his life. Teacher Nancy Tokarz supervised the project.
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
May 29, 1982: A group of children touring the Kennedy library during a celebration for the president's 65th birthday stopped in front of a huge mural of JFK in the Oval Office where he was shown with daughter, Caroline.
Ted Dully/ Globe Staff
Jan. 19, 1986: As a fog light did its best, a lone visitor to the John F. Kennedy library came down the stairway.
Janet Knott/Globe Staff
Feb. 1, 1991: Friends of the John F. Kennedy Library gathered in the new Stephen E. Smith wing while Carol Ferguson took plastic off the podium and architect Robert Imhoff took notes from the scaffolding. Imhoff worked for Pei, Cobb, Freed and partners. The 22,000-square-foot wing named for President Kennedy's brother-in-law, and president emeritus of the library foundation, was part of I.M. Pei's original design for the library but was not built at the same time due to lack of money. The new wing featured a great hall dominated by a two-story window that presented a stunning panorama of the harbor and Boston's skyline. Smith, who died the previous August, led the campaign for construction of the original building and creation of a library endowment.
Boston Globe archives
March 14, 1992: This White House model, 60 feet long, wired and plumbed and furnished, was the work of diorama maker John Zweifel of Orlando, Fla. As part of the nation's bicentennial, the model toured all 50 states. The exhibition at the JFK Library included Zweifel's separate replica of the Oval Office when John F. Kennedy was president.