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Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

National Historic Landmark PAUL REVERE HOUSE

Location: Suffolk County, 19 North Square, Boston.

Ownership and Administration. Paul Revere Memorial Association, 19 North Square, Boston.

Significance. This house possesses an unusual combination of historical and architectural interest. Although extensively restored, it retains its original framework and is exceptionally significant as downtown Boston's only surviving 17th-century dwelling and as Revere's home from 1770 to 1800.

John Jeffs probably built the original portion of the house not long after the Boston Fire of 1676, on the site of the Increase Mather parsonage. The house was originally the simple and characteristic one-room type, but by the time Revere moved into it about a century later it had already been enlarged to three full stories. During the 19th century, when the house was a tenement and used as a store, it was considerably altered. An increasing regard for the old house led to its rehabilitation in the present century. In 1908, Joseph Everett Chandler, an architect, directed its careful restoration.

Present Appearance. The exterior of the house is clearly 17th-century in character, featuring typical rooflines, overhang, pendants, windows, and front door. Inside, the kitchen ell at the rear is an early section of the building. Revere probably used the back door in this kitchen when he set out on his famous ride of April 18, 1775; the front door would not have been safe because North Square was full of British soldiers.

In the hall is a recessed fireplace, and a small porch and winding stair are located in front of the chimney. Summer beams span the ceiling of the large room, or hall. The first-floor interior has been restored in 17th-century fashion, but the second-floor chamber is plastered, paneled, and painted as it might have been when occupied by the Reveres. The house is well maintained and is open to the public. [30]

NHL Designation: 01/20/61

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Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005