Known as the Kennedy Winter White House, the Kennedy's often found relaxation at the Palm Beach Florida home of JFK's parents. But they also rented a nearby house owned by C. Michael Paul. This was Rose's domain, so Jackie needed a place of her own to get away.
Jackie spent time here at her in-laws as did her husband. The famous January 1961 family pictures by Richard Avedon and the Easter 1962 pictures of JFK and his family were taken at this house and were distributed across the world.
Story below by Alice Luckhardt (Yahoo Contributor Network) June 20, 2010:
One of the most famous estates in Florida and throughout the country was known as
the 'Winter White House' for President John F. Kennedy.
Just 65 miles north of
Miami, Florida, along millionaire's row on the
the plush island
of Palm Beach is located one of America's most famous addresses. The Kennedy
estate, as it was known, is situation along the Atlantic Ocean at 1095 North
Ocean Blvd. However, it was not always owned by the Kennedy family.
home was originally designed by the famous architect, Addison Mizner. In the
1920s, Mizner was the best-known and desired American architect, especially in
tropical areas like Florida and California. His style was that of Mediterranean
Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival.
The Mediterranean Revival designs were
favored by wealthy northern clients, who wanted their own individual ocean-front
mansions. The elegant homes were constructed of stone, tile and stucco, with
open ventilation to take advantage of the sea breezes. Many had walls around the
estates and those were made from lava rock.
It was Rodman Wanamaker, of
Philadelphia, PA, a department store tycoon, who had Mizner build his Florida
mansion at the northern end on Palm Beach. Wanamaker had his winter home built
in 1923 in the Spanish Revival style. It was named 'La Guerida', which means
bounty of war. Rodman Wanamaker also had a townhouse on Spruce Street in
Philadelphia, a New York residence near Washington Square, a house in and a
country home near Jenkintown, Pa.
Due to serious kidney problems,
Wanamaker was only able to enjoy his Palm Beach mansion until his death in 1928
in Atlantic City. His family held onto the estate for a few years, but with the
economic conditions brought on by the Great Depression, they sold the two-acre
property and home in 1933 to Joseph P. Kennedy for $120,000. That was same year
Addison Mizner died.
Joe Kennedy has been encouraged by his wife, Rose, to purchase a home on Palm
Beach, which was one of her favorite locations to vacation. Joe added an
additional wing to the house which was designed by Maurice Fatio.
Also put in was a and tennis
court for his large family to enjoy. Rose and Joe Kennedy's children spent a
great deal of time growing up there, especially during the winter season of
December to April. Even a special 'bullpen' was constructed for Joe Kennedy's
use. It was a walled off area where he sunbathed and could also be on the
telephone to conduct business.
From North Ocean Blvd., looking towards
the home, there is very little to see, just an archway with a heavy oak door
against a large white wall (where the 1962 Easter pictures were taken). It is 100 feet long and 2-stories with six bedrooms.
There was no air-conditioning or central heat in the house, either when
Wanamaker or the Kennedys owned it. With 176 feet directly on the ocean and most
of the time plentiful sea breezes, the house was comfortable.
his book, Profiles of Courage, at the Palm Beach residence between 1954
and 1955 while recovering from back surgery. With the ocean right there, during
certain times the rough ocean waves pounded the seawall spraying seawater
everywhere. However, John found it a very relaxing time.
The Palm Beach house
was used for vacations, at holiday time and a great place for family
get-togethers and of course the family football games. The Kennedy house was not
always kept up over the years. There were signs of faded and shabby
slipcovers. The family always felt the house was for fun and to relax in, not to
It was November 1960 that Joe and Rose Kennedy watched the
1960 Presidential election returns from their Palm Beach residence. Once John
Kennedy won, he spent several weeks in Palm Beach to relax after the campaign
and to prepare for his presidency.
While at 1096 North Ocean Blvd., John
"Jack" Kennedy selected most of his cabinet members and then held press
conferences on the patio. He used a good deal of his time in Palm Beach,
especially in January 1961, to work on his inaugural address. Jack and Jackie's
bedroom was on the first floor with a balcony overlooking the tennis court. Over
the next 35 months, the ocean residence would become known as Kennedy's winter White
House - even though they stayed at the Paul Mansion nearby.
It was also where on December 19, 1961, that Joseph Kennedy had his massive
President Kennedy spent his last few days before the Dallas, Texas
events of November 22, 1963 in Palm Beach.
He flew in on Friday, November 15, 1963
to stay at the Palm Beach home. Then went to Cape Canaveral on November 16th.
The next day, November 17th Kennedy was back in Palm Beach finishing his speech
for his visit in Miami. During that time he had a private screening of the new
movie, Tom Jones.
On Monday, November 18, 1963, Kennedy left Palm Beach for
speeches he was giving in Tampa and Miami. He then left Florida and headed back
to Washington, D. C. and remained there November 19th and 20th. On November 21st
and 22nd John and Jackie Kennedy were in Texas. John would never be back to Palm
Beach and the family house on North Ocean Blvd.
The Kennedy residence
remained a vacation get-away for the various family branches over the following
years. The house gained notoriety during William Kennedy Smith rape trial held
in Palm Beach County. Smith was acquitted of the charges by a jury in
After the trial and with the house in major disrepair, the Kennedys
decided it was time to sell. In 1995, the Kennedys sold the furnished house for
$4.9 million to John and Marianne Castle.
John K. Castle was the chief executive
of Castle Harlan, an investment firm. The couple began an extensive restoration
project costing $6 million over a period of 2 years. They used Addison Mizner's
original plans to bring the house back to its initial beginnings. They added
central heating and air conditioning, did a cosmetic makeover, added new restrooms for
the poolroom plus marble interior for the
The old original bent palm trees had to be replaced in the
backyard. The Castles changed the name from 'La Guerida' to 'Castillo del Mar'.
They kept most of the Kennedy furniture, including extra pieces they purchased
at auctions of Kennedy items. The bedroom and its furniture used by Jack and
Jackie Kennedy was totally preserved just as it was during the Kennedy 'Camelot'
Where some may have torn the old estate home down, the Castles
have not only preserved a piece of history but given it new life for decades to
The Kennedys in Palm Beach
On Jan. 3, 1961, Richard Avedon arrived at the Kennedy home in Palm
There he set up his famous white paper background, loaded
his Rollieflex cameras with
2 1/4-inch film, pulled up the piano bench
and began to photograph the president-elect,
John F. Kennedy, and his
young family. He got a preview of Jackie in her Inaugural Gala
gown designed by Oleg Casini.
These would be the only formal photographs made between
the time of the election
and his inauguration. Six of the images
appeared in the February 1961 issue of Harper's Bazaar,