The former home of beloved Boston Mayor and maternal grandfather of John F. Kennedy Jr., John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, is currently for sale for $558,000. And while the six-bed, two-and-a-half-bath home, located on Rundel Park in the Ashmont section of Dorchester, has seen a variety of Kennedy relatives come through its doors throughout the years, the prospective sale is bittersweet for current owner Jim Cramen, whose family moved into the 13-room home back in 1972.
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After spending most of his life in the 3322-square-foot home, Cramen is ready to downsize. “My parents took a bit of pride in being able to tell people who lived here before us and the previous owner,” says Cramen, who has some unique memories of growing up in a home formerly inhabited by Kennedy relatives.
There were the multiple phone jacks in the closet of the master bedroom, which the Secret Service once used to listen in on conversations when JFK stopped by. And then there’s the inspection tags on the furnace in the basement, with Thomas Fitzgerald’s name on them.
Former neighbors would recite stories for Cramen about the onslaught of security about when JFK would visit, as well as memories of Mrs. Fitzgerald sitting at the window, waving as neighbors went by.
The quiet cul-de-sac, once known as Arundel Park, leads to the historic home, built by renowned Dorchester architect Edwin J. Lewis Jr. Intricate dentil and crown moldings line the rooms, while the dining room, which still has an area where staff served the family buffet-style, leads into a butler’s pantry. There’s a formal front staircase as well as a more discreet second staircase originally for the staff, who lived on the third floor.
In a neighborhood where property is currently so highly coveted, purchase of the home would ensure buyers a spot in one of Dorchester’s most beautiful areas. But whoever buys the home should be ready to spend some significant money rehabilitating the project.
Listing Agent Charlene Folan of Jack Conway & Co. predicts around $200,000 would be needed to restore the home fully. “People come here and say that if they had the money, they would love to restore this property because of the history, the location, and the amount of space,” says Folan. “But it would take a lot of money and a lot of passion.”
But for Cramen, the home is more than just a restoration project“We all think of Rundel Park sort of as an ‘entity,’ not just a house. We won't have a home in Dorchester anymore, although Dorchester will always be home for all of us,” says Cramen. “ButI think it is time for Rundel Park to move on too, and be filled up with a new family and be part of their memories.”