In the pursuit of highly stable and selective metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) for the adsorption of caustic acid gas species, an entire series of rare earth MOFs have been explored. Each of the MOFs in this series (RE-DOBDC; RE = La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, and Lu; DOBDC = 2,5-dihydroxyterepthalic acid) was synthesized in the tetragonal space group I4/m. Crystallized MOF samples, specifically Eu-DOBDC, were seen to have a combination of monodentate and bidentate binding when synthesized under typical reaction conditions, resulting in a contortion of the structure. However, extended crystallization times determined that this binding is kinetically controlled and that the monodentate binding option was crystallographically eliminated by extended reaction times at higher temperatures. Furthermore, this series allows for the direct study of the effect of the metal center on the structure of the of the MOF; herein, the lanthanide metal ionic radii contraction across the periodic table results in a reduction of the MOF pore size and lattice parameters. Scanning electron microscopy–energy-dispersive spectroscopy was used to investigate the stages of crystal growth for these RE-DOBDC MOFs. All MOFs, except Er-DOBDC had a minimum of two stages of growth. These analogues were demonstrated by analysis of neutron diffraction (PND) to exhibit a cooperative rotational distortion of the secondary building unit, resulting in two crystallographically distinct linker sublattices. Computational modeling efforts were used to show distinct differences on acid gas (NO2 and SO2) binding energies for RE-DOBDC MOFs when comparing the monodentate/bidentate combined linker with the bidentate-only linker crystal structures.