Paul Revere Purchases His North End Home
As is typical of early Massachusetts Bay timber construction, the main block of the three-story dwelling consisted of four structural bays demarcated by heavy framing posts and overhead beams.
The larger ground-floor room in this main block was dominated by its chimney bay and adjoining lobby entrance. Although some contemporary Boston houses had separate kitchen buildings, the two-story extension behind the Revere House was typical. As the Revere House was set quite close to neighbors, its double casement windows were installed in the rear elevation rather than the more common placement in a gable.
Around the middle of the eighteenth century, the Paul Revere House went through two major renovations. First, the roofline facing the street was raised substantially to bring the house in line with the Georgian architectural style that had become prevalent at that time (the roofline was returned to its original pitch, albeit without a gable, by the restorers in 1907-1908, which gave rise to a commonly-held misconception that the attic had been removed). Second, a two-story lean-to was added in the ell between the two 17th-century portions of the house (this lean-to was removed by the restoration in 1907-1908).
Paul Revere owned this house from 1770–1800, although he and his family may have lived elsewhere for periods in the 1780s and 1790s. It is believed that during the Revere occupancy the rear chimney was added (c. 1790) including the kitchen that visitors see in the first room they enter.
After Revere sold the house, it became a tenement with its ground floor remodeled for use as shops, including at various times a candy store, cigar factory, bank and vegetable and fruit business. In 1902, Revere's great-grandson, John P. Reynolds Jr. purchased the building to prevent demolition, and restoration took place under the guidance of architect and historic preservationist Joseph Chandler. In April 1908, the Paul Revere House opened its doors to the public as one of the earliest historic house museums in the United States.
A View On Cities: Paul Revere House