The Howard - Revere house was already over 90 years old when
thirty-five year old Paul Revere purchased in in 1770. Its first owner,
merchant Robert Howard, had it reconstructed in the years following the
great fire of 1676.
Built of earth and wood, little remains of early colonial architecture.
Over three centuries the house was modified to be a store, candy factory,
and was eventually restored to this interpretation of its colonial condition.
Little if any of the original house remains, but the building provides some
idea of the area's early dwellings.
Medieval in style, its high pitched roof easily sheds snow. Its huge timber
posts are evident even from the exterior, and are ornamented where they
protrude from the walls. The second floor overhang is also typical of medieval
homes, which grew out as they grew up.
Survival against the elements was the ultimate function of colonial architecture.
The horizontal clapboards, wood shingles and casement windows all add to
the house's weatherproofing, as does its huge central fire place. Its low
ceilings make the house easy to heat, and its relatively small windows help
retain warmth. Also, its interior walls are "roughcast", coated with earth
to prevents drafts and fires.
Besides being an industrious businessman and energetic patriot, Revere fathered
sixteen children over thirty years. Though they never all lived beneath
the same roof, Revere's family was recognized an exceptionally large one.
The Revere family was exempted from quartering British troops, as they could
demonstrate there was little free space in their home available.
Over the following generations the house became a candy factory, grocery
store and tenement. Between 1905 and 1910 the house was threatened with
demolition, and purchased by a group of citizens, The
Paul Revere Memorial Association. They restored the house to approximately
how it was when John Jeff built it over 200 years earlier.