Boston Walking Tours : Paul Revere House – Located within the heart of Boston’s North End (the Little Italy neighborhood) is Paul Revere’s former home at 19 North Square. The home, mind you, to which he could not even return to for a full year after his famous midnight ride for fear of his life.
This brown clapboard with high pitched roof is actually the oldest home in downtown Boston, having been built in 1680. Revere purchased this house in 1770. To help pay for his home Paul had to undertake numerous jobs. Occupations which Revere held included gold and silver smithing (a trade he learned from his father), political cartoonist (including his famous depiction of the Boston Massacre), copper plate engraver, book plate manufacturer (a small label on the inside cover of a book which would signify the owner of the book), and business card designer.
When Paul moved in with his exceptionally large family of 16 children (8 of which he had with his first wife and 8 with his second), the space was said to be so limited that even the British stayed away. British troops, of course, had their right to the quarter in the homes of families. The Reveres, however, qualified for an exemption due to their limited living space. Paul did find space enough though to, on occasion, host exhibits for friends at his home. During one of these exhibits in 1771 he showed oil paintings which he had drawn of the Boston Massacre and which were illuminated by candlelight (in diorama-like fashion). It is said this showing was just one of several instances which helped plant the early seeds of the Revolution.
Paul eventually sold this home in 1800 and the home took on a series of different lives afterwards, including: a tenement, bank, grocery store, candy store and cigar factory. The home was slated for demolition in the early 20th century before being acquired by a group which included Revere’s great-grandson—John P. Reynolds Jr. Who transformed it into this historical museum.
The museum officially opened in 1908 and provides spectacular insight into 18th century living. 90% of the structure is, per its original design. There is a nominal fee for touring it & this is the most popular attraction along the Freedom Trail. If you do decide to enter the museum and visit, do not miss out on the 900 pound bell cast by Paul Revere located in the courtyard.
**Special thanks to the Paul Revere House for their insight in preparing this entry.