This may be Boston’s most photographed sculpture. And for two years in the 1970s I lived right across the street. I was living in a four story walk up at 421 Hanover Street. The street level housed Benninati store, a grocery and meat market. Mr & Mrs Benninati lived on the second floor, another Mr & Mrs Benninati lived on the third floor. The two husbands were brothers, the two wives were sisters. All four worked in the store, the women in front at the cash register. My roommate and I lived on the top floor. The North End at that time was an Italian district of the city; my roommate and I were Irish, so we kept a low profile.
The setting was charming, all brick plaza and eight-foot-high brick walls and is a stop along the historic Freedom Trail. The plaza was lined with tall leafy trees in tree wells to provide shade and a number of benches for sitting. The plaza was typically full of people, it was a quick cut through to North Church and the Copp’s Hill section of the North End. My paternal ancestors had lived there before fleeing to the suburbs in the 1920s.
The statue of equestrian Paul Revere illustrates the story of his midnight ride when he warned surrounding areas of the coming of the British and rallying them to fight for independence. . Days later were the infamous battles of Lexington and Concord where the farmer militiamen were able to beat back the better armed and uniformed British forces. This was in 1775.
The bronze statue was created by Cyrus Dallin, an American sculptor. It took him sixteen years to complete and was not installed for another forty years, on September 22, 1940. Dallin, from Utah, had over 250 other famous statues, many with Indian subjects: the Indian equestrian statue “Appeal to the Great Spirit” which sits in front of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; Massasoit in Plymouth Mass, a portrayal of Native Americans (replica in Utah State Capitol grounds). His Utah sculptures were commissioned by the Mormon Church include Brigham Young and the Pioneers in Salt Lake City, the Angel Moroni on the spire of the Salt Lake Temple, and others.
It sits on a granite base designed by Little & Porter.