“You have to see it to believe it,” Ducharme said of Quincy's United First Parish Church [left], also known as the Church of the Presidents, where he is director of the historic interpretive program.
The church, called “the finest existing Greek Revival church in New England” by the National Park Service, is a 19th century domed building in Quincy Center that contains the remains of former presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams and their wives, Abigail and Louisa Catherine.
It was one of several notable nooks in the City of Presidents that got a nod from the 12-person statewide commission that tried to identify the best places to visit in the Commonwealth.
While the list was dominated by sites in Boston, the Cape Cod and islands, and historic hot-sports such as New Bedford, Salem and Gloucester, the commission cited places in hundreds of the state’s cities and towns and had been working for more than a year to sort through more than 12,000 online nominations.
The church is joined by the Adams National Park, the Colonel Josiah Quincy House, Marina Bay, Quincy Quarries Reservation, and the USS Salem/United States Naval Shipbuilding Museum.
Some of the sites around the state were selected for their historic significance, and many of Quincy’s locations fit the bill. The Adams National Park, run by the National Park Service, “tells the story of four generations of the Adams family,” according to its website, and includes the birthplace of John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and the Stone Library which holds more than 14,000 historic volumes.
The Quincy House, an 18th century Wollaston building that was home to Colonel Josiah Quincy, who fought in the Revolutionary War. It is preserved by Historic New England.
For those more interested in more modern history, the USS Salem, which served from the mid1940s to 1959, was mothballed for 30 years and was eventually recommissioned as a museum where she “now serves her country once again with her new mission of teaching people of all generations our nation's rich history of shipbuilding and naval duty.”
The list also aimed to highlight places of natural beauty, and Quincy Quarries Reservation, on Ricciuti Drive in West Quincy, blends that aesthetic demand with historic significance. Said to be the birthplace of America’s “large scale granite quarrying industry” in 1895 by the state department of parks and recreation, the reservation was the source of stone for Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown.
The list of 1,000 was meant to spur tourism, and such traffic could reach Marina Bay, which is hailed by Discover Quincy as "Boston's premier waterfront entertainment destination,” which includes a 686-slip marina.
Even though there is a lot to choose from, Ducharme is confident tourists will continue to visit and tell him just how much they love his church.
“Most people that visit the Adams sites,” Ducharme said, “They come here and say, ‘This is the highlight of our visit.’”