Boston's uber-historic Old North Church—known best as the then-soaring signal point for Paul Revere and other revolutionaries on their late-night warning ride—is undergoing an $8,000,000 renovation and restoration. It's hoped that the work on the Salem Street site, perhaps the most-visited of all of Boston's tourist attractions, will be completed by the Episcopalian church's tricentennial in 2023, and, two years after that, the 250th anniversary of Revere's midnight gallop. Along the way, the meticulous restoration is revealing quite a bit about the early eighteenth-century building.
For one thing, the process could reveal up to 20 figures painted on the upper arches of the church's nave around the time of its construction in the 1720s. Moreover, per Brian MacQuarrie at the Globe, the painstaking work of conservators has shown "that the walls once were bathed in a reddish wash. That hue would have served at least two purposes: to add color to the interior, and also to create an illusion of hardwood."
In general, that is the restoration's purpose: to get behind and beyond the build-up of two-plus centuries to what's original—or close to it—about what one conservator working on the project describes as "the first important Georgian-style church of its type in English North America." Stay tuned. All shall be revealed.
· Old North Church Preps for $8 Million Makeover [Globe]
· Our History Lessons archive [Curbed Boston]