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Historic Kennedy Palm Beach house $38.5M

The Palm Beach, Florida Kennedy estate at 1095 North Ocean Blvd is on the market as of May 2014 for $38.5 million. Joseph P. Kennedy purchased it in 1933 for $120K and it stayed in the family for 62 years. Thanks to the caring of John K. Castle, some memorable Kennedy history has been preserved.

Mr. Castle, the chairman and CEO of New York-based investment firm Castle Harlan Inc., and his wife Marianne bought the rundown home with no air conditioning or central heat in 1995 for $4,934,800. It has undergone a two-year $6 million facelift although it had been considered an ugly, beyond saving teardown by Palm Beach locals.

During President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's days, the home was the "Winter White House" for JFK and wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. President Kennedy reportedly held "press conferences and presidential meetings" in the home. At times, JFK and Jackie also rented C. Michael Paul's mansion nearby since the compound was the vacation home for the entire Joe Kennedy family. The Pink Pillbox website has some of the famous Kennedy pictures such as the Richard Avedon January 1961 family pictures and the Easter 1962 JFK family pictures taken at the house and distributed worldwide.

Senator Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage while recovering at the house from back surgery between 1954 and 1955, and his parents Joe and Rose watched the November 1960 Presidential election returns at the house. JFK chose most of his cabinet members and worked on his 1961 inaugural address there, containing the message "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. " Joseph Kennedy suffered his massive stroke at the house on December 19, 1961. JFK's last day spent at the Palm Beach house was Monday, November 18, 1963, when he left to speak in in Tampa and Miami before flying to his fateful Texas trip.

John Castle considered the home a "national sanctuary" and appreciated its historical significance. The Castles' purchase also included an additional $80,000 for the Kennedy furniture including the beds of Joe, Jack, Bobby, and Ted, the Kennedy 18-foot-long dining table and chairs, JFK's mahogany massage table, and "a chest of drawers with each drawer bearing a label in Rose's handwriting describing the contents."

Architect Addison Mizner built the two story Mediterranean Revival style oceanfront home in 1923 for department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker who named it "La Guerida", meaning bounty of war. Afflicted with serious kidney problems, Wanamaker died in 1928. His family kept the estate until with economic conditions of the Great Depression they sold it in 1933, the same year Mizner died.

Rose Kennedy loved the Palm Beach area so husband Joe bought the home for them to spend the winter season from December to April. He added an additional wing to the house, which was designed by Maurice Fatio, a tennis court and swimming pool and a special "bullpen" walled off area where he could sunbathe and be on the telephone for business.

In the Castle renovation, central heating and air conditioning were added as well as new restrooms for the poolroom, marble interior for the bathrooms and a cosmetic makeover. The original bent palm trees in the backyard were replaced and the name was changed to "Castillo del Mar".

The home features 11 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and 3 partial baths, dining room, eat-in kitchen, living room, den, utility room, and balcony for a total of 15,347 square feet in 3 structures. The over one acre property in the Wells Road and North area includes 176 feet of oceanfront, the hard tennis court, swimming pool, 4 car garage, patio/lanai and seawall/bulkhead with "sweeping direct oceanfront views" from the home and pool. The Jack and Jackie Kennedy bedroom and furniture was totally preserved just as it was during their years as seen above in the video picture.

The home is listed with Linda R Olsson Inc. with the Palm Beach Board of Realtors MLS (PBBORMLS), telephone 561.820.9195. View the website for more pictures.

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