Located in the North End neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, the Paul Revere House is the former home of noted colonial American patriot Paul Revere and is the oldest house still standing in the city’s downtown area. The house and several other adjacent historic buildings have been converted into a museum that is operated by the nonprofit Paul Revere Memorial Association.
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After the Second Church of Boston was destroyed in Boston’s Great Fire of 1676, a three-story townhouse was constructed on its 19 North Square site in 1860. Silversmith Paul Revere, a prominent member of the Boston community, owned the house from 1770 to 1800. During his time at the residence, he completed his famed 1775 midnight ride, which alerted colonial militia forces to the arrival of British troops prior to the battles of Lexington and Concord.
After Revere sold the house in 1800, its ground floor was remodeled for commercial use. It was host to various businesses throughout the following century, including a candy store, bank, and cigar factory, but in 1902, was brought back into the possession of the Revere family when Revere's great-grandson, John P. Reynolds, Jr., acquired it with the intent of creating a museum. The Paul Revere House has been open for public tours since 1908, making it one of the earliest historic house museums opened in America. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in January 1961 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in October 1966.
Historic Houses Complex
For a small admission fee, guests can tour the L-shaped townhouse at their leisure. The house displays construction that was typical of early Massachusetts Bay architecture, with features such as heavy overhead beams, an absence of interior hallways, and a two-story kitchen extension at the back of the structure. Despite its commercial renovations during the 19th century, over ninety percent of the house’s original structure remains intact. Several items of furniture believed to have belonged to the Revere family are on display for visitors in the upstairs chambers.
On December 3, 2016, the Paul Revere Memorial Association opened an education and visitor information center at the adjacent Lathrop Place, an 1835 rowhouse property developed on land that once belonged to the Revere family. Accessible from the Paul Revere House by an elevated walkway, the visitor center features exhibits dedicated to Revere’s midnight ride and career as a silversmith as well as general information about the American Revolution. Pieces from the museum’s collection are on display in the center’s exhibits, including original silver from Revere’s shop and memorabilia connected to his midnight ride. This visitor center renovation has made the second floor of the house accessible to wheelchair patrons for the first time in the museum’s history.
In addition to the Revere House and the Lathrop Place visitor center, the Memorial Association also owns the adjacent Pierce-Hichborn House, one of the oldest remaining brick structures in Boston. Built around 1711, the house was originally constructed for Moses Pierce, a glazier, and later bought by Revere’s cousin, Nathaniel Hichborn. The house was purchased and fully restored in the 1940s with the intent of preserving it as a historic museum. It is open to guided tours, with four rooms fully furnished in 18th-century style.
The three Memorial Association buildings are connected by a central courtyard with gardens and a Revere bell.
Ongoing Programs and Education
The Paul Revere House offers a number of guided tours tailored toward school groups and organizations. Tour themes center on in-depth explorations of Revere’s personal and family history as well as discussions of the business trades and social culture of North End immigrants in the colonial era and beyond. Guided tours of the homes and walking tours of the historic North End neighborhood are offered for adult groups. Additionally, special crafting demonstrations and musical performances are hosted weekly in the museum complex to help immerse visitors in the culture of colonial-era Boston.
Boston’s North End
Settled in the 1630s, Boston’s North End neighborhood is the city’s oldest residential community and one of its three original colonial neighborhoods. Geographically separated from much of the rest of the city by highways and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway park, the neighborhood maintains a distinct identity from the rest of Boston, preserving much its original colonial character alongside the vibrant culture of a thriving Italian-American community. In addition to the Paul Revere House and Pierce-Hichborn House, 10 other sites in the neighborhood are designated on the National Register of Historic Places, including Boston’s second-oldest cemetery, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, which serves as a resting place for many of the city’s notable colonial-era residents.
The neighborhood’s narrow streets and lack of major thoroughfares foster a large amount of foot traffic. There are no MBTA Subway stops in the neighborhood, but the nearby Haymarket and North Station stops provide easy access for residents or visitors looking to enjoy the North End’s many tourist attractions and fine dining establishments.
19 N Square, Boston, MA 02113