Traveling with Twain

In Search of America's Identity

Would Mark Twain have tweaked the Paul Revere House restoration?

Mark Twain mocked New Englanders’ reverence for their early ancestors and symbols of those ancestors. He jokingly suggested that they disband their New England societies and “get up an auction and sell Plymouth Rock!”

One can imagine what he might have said about the Paul Revere Memorial Association that restored the Paul Revere House at 19 North Square in Boston and opened it to the public in 1908.

The house was restored not to resemble the house the way it was during the period of Revere ownership, 1770-1800, but to resemble the house from a century earlier. The partial third floor where Revere’s five children may have slept was reduced to an attic and 18th-century windows replaced with 17th-century windows.

Dan Tham’s video of Patrick M. Leehey, research director of the Paul Revere House, captures the controversy surrounding the Paul Revere Memorial Association’s restoration of the house.


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