Downtown Boston’s oldest house offers a fascinating glimpse into colonial Boston and the life of one of America’s favorite patriots.
From the outside, the Paul Revere House has an unassuming charm. This green-gray clapboard structure in the North End was built in 1680, making it the oldest residence in Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood. Head inside to discover a memorial of the life of Paul Revere and a rare insight into colonial-era life in the “Cradle of Liberty.”
On April 18, 1775, word reached the patriot Dr. Joseph Warren that British forces were planning an attack on the colonials’ weapons store at Concord and would arrest revolutionary leaders, Samuel Adams and John Hancock. He asked the politically inclined silversmith, Paul Revere, to carry the message forward. After being rowed across the Charles River, Revere borrowed a horse and rode that night to Lexington, Massachusetts, “alarming” the countryside on his way to warn Adams and Hancock of the impending danger. Read “Paul Revere’s Ride,” by poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who immortalized the event.
Visit the house Revere left on that historic night, carefully restored to evoke the midnight rider’s home life. After the large Revere family left the house, it was used as a shop and a tenement for 19th-century Irish, Jewish and Italian immigrants to Boston. In 1902, Revere’s great-grandson purchased the building to ensure its longevity. By 1908 the Paul Revere House had opened as one of America’s first historic house museums.
Take a self-guided tour through this well-maintained reconstruction of colonial family life. Much of the original structure still stands, and period furnishings have been carefully arranged to recreate the Revere family’s living arrangements. Head into the courtyard to view a colonial-style garden and see a 900-pound (400-kilogram) bell, which was made by Paul Revere & Sons in his smithy. See other evidence of Revere’s considerable talents for silversmithing and engraving throughout the museum.
Pay a small admission for the Paul Revere House or get less expensive access as part of the Freedom Trail package ticket. The museum is closed on Mondays from January through March. Formal guided tours may be offered, but advance booking is required. The Paul Revere House is an easy stop along the Freedom Trail.