Paul Revere House


The Revere house in North Square, Boston




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Built in 1680, Paul Revere owned and lived in it from 1770 to 1818; restored to reflect its 17th century appearance.

In the seventeenth century it may have looked much as it does today, a two-story, peak-roofed, tiny house with a scowling medieval overhang. Seemingly there is no conceivable place to put Paul Revere himself, his wife, mother, and all those children. But the tax assessments of 1790 describe this house in that year as having three stories and seventeen windows. Paul may have added that extra story or it may have been enlarged before he bought it. As it is the only seventeenth century house still standing in a large American city, it was wisely restored to John Jeffs’ day rather than Revere’s. Although not so picturesque in the eighteenth century, it was undoubtedly much more commodious.

— Esther Forbes, Paul Revere & the World He Lived In (1942), p. 162.

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Associated People

The French years provided Franklin’s detractors precisely what they needed: proof that the ur-American was un-American. Franklin was the Founding Father who had come the furthest, which makes him today the most compelling; he was also the Founding Father who traveled the farthest, which in his own century made him the most suspect. Few other homes in Philadelphia sported both Réaumur and Fahrenheit thermometers. The story goes that when Franklin proposed that Congress open its meetings with a prayer, Alexander Hamilton quipped that that body had no need of foreign aid. The story may be apocryphal but the sentiment was real. The expatriate patriot, Franklin was associated in many minds with the dependent chapter of American independence, one better expunged from the record.

Stacy Schiff
A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America (2005)