Noonmark Antiques

Philadelphian in Boston and the Paul Revere House

Charles HammellComment

Everyone assured me that Boston is a walkable city. And, indeed it is as I discovered. My goal was to walk to Faneuil Hall from the Sheraton Hotel Back Bay. The day was hot and sunny as I set off on Boyleston Street and made a left on Tremont Street, keeping the Boston Common to my left. Slowly, I made my way to Court Street, turned right and then a left on Congress Street. Boston is not a grid city like Philadelphia or New York City. It has unexpected twists and turns. It took me thirty minutes to walk from the Back Bay to Faneuil Hall, not bad on a hot day. Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market remind me of Independence Mall in Philadelphia, the former two being more accessible and tourist friendly.

Faneuil Hall

My next goal was to walk from Faneuil Hall to Paul Revere's House. The Freedom Trail apparently would lead me there, but, somehow, I lost the Freedom Trail. It was getting close to elevenses time so I popped in to the Quincey Market and took a look around. Not ready for lunch yet, I chose a brownie. It must have weighed a quarter pound! I nibbled on some brownie and sipped from my water bottle and headed for Paul Revere's House. Fortunately, I planned ahead so even though I was not on the Freedom Trail and walked down an unsavory street I still managed to cross the highway and find Hanover Street. Seriously, though, the Google Map and the actual place do not quite coincide. Boston takes some patience but is well worth it. It was easy to cross the expressway via Hanover Street (though hot) With a right turn on Richmond Street and a left on North Street I came upon a charming 17th century house. I stopped to take a picture, then realized, "Oh, this is Paul Revere's House."

Paul Revere's House

Signage and the neighborhood

The entrance is not from the front, but from the rear of the building.

What did I expect to see and find at the Paul Revere House? I wasn't sure,but, I think I had some great expectations. The tour is self guided, however, folks following the Freedom Trail stopped here, this being the only house on the trail. They pushed on through which did not allow for my usual contemplation. I resisted though, and engaged some of the docents in each room with questions. No photos allowed! You can buy a $10.00 book and post cards at the shop. Here are photos of my post cards:

Kitchen

The kitchen is the first room upon entering. The original kitchen was located in the basement. This house was built around 1680 by Robert Howard, a wealthy Puritan merchant. The house was already 100 years old when Paul Revere purchased it. He made some updates just as we would today, and brought the kitchen up from the basement to the first floor.

The Hall

The next room on the tour was The Hall. I was surprised to see it decorated the way original owner Robert Howard may have chose. Having just experienced the fabulous 17th century gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts, I was able to recognize and identify this period furniture. After considering this restoration decision, I was glad guests had an opportunity to view the original construction of the room.

Best Chamber

After climbing a tiny winding stair case I came upon the master bedroom. This room also served as a parlour and it was not unusual for homeowners of the 18th century to entertain their guests in this well kept upstairs room. Here, I found a pleasant docent, who patiently answered my questions. She explained to me that early Boston, like Philadelphia, consisted of many marshy areas and waterways. The Bostonians set pilings into the marshes and filled them in, building their homes and shops on top.

Paul Revere, age 78, by Gilbert Stuart, MFA

Mrs. Paul Revere #2, age 67, by Gilbert Stuart, MFA

Paul Revere, silversmith and engraver, was married twice and had eight children by each wife. At one time, there may have been nine children sleeping on the second floor. There is another room, not pictured, where the children most likely shared beds.

I was hoping to see examples of silver by Paul Revere. A tiny closet display case offered a few small trinkets. I will have to study Revere's silver elsewhere.

Would I bring small children to this museum? Probably not. Strollers need to be left outside. The passageways through the house are narrow and the rooms are dark. Thoughtful children nine years old and above who are reading books and studying Revolutionary War heroes might find the home interesting.

I believe my ticket was $15. There may be special tickets for the entire Freedom Trail. Since I planned to walk to the Back Bay I did not continue to follow the Freedom Trail. I did want to find a healthy lunch. I headed up North Street, turned left on Prince Street and discovered Cantina Italiana. Perfect! I had a lovely caprese salad ( tomatoes and mozzarella cheese) with grilled chicken on the side and ice tea. All the staff spoke Italian. Sinatra on the radio. I was now prepared for my return to the Back Bay.