It doesn’t get more Boston than the historic Paul Revere House, one of the must-see sites on the Freedom Trail. But due to constraints of the small site, the educators at the Paul Revere Memorial Association struggled to accommodate large groups and the basic needs of visitors like restroom facilities and handicapped accessibility. To meet these challenges, the Association purchased and rehabilitated the adjacent 5 and 6 Lathrop Place rowhouses built in 1835 and 1836 on land that was once owned by Paul Revere himself. Restoring as much original fabric as possible, including hearths, stairs and rails, and trim, the project team converted the former tenements into classroom and exhibit spaces, offices, and restroom facilities. The project also included extensive renovation of the courtyard between the Paul Revere House and the Visitor Center. The revitalized outdoor space now provides accessible routes through the site, open gathering space, and even exposes part of a cobble path uncovered by archaeologists. As stewards of not only the Paul Revere House but now the rowhouses as well, the Association has made a significant commitment to preserving Boston’s priceless history.
“Working in the confines of a historic house always leads to inherent tensions and compromises—school groups taught outside and people with limited mobility challenged if not excluded from seeing historic interiors,” said Greg Galer, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. “With this innovative project all have access without negatively impacting the Paul Revere House itself, and visiting teachers are finding a whole new level of student engagement, just due to the focus a dedicated interior space provides.”