This courtyard is the site of the Barnard House, built at the same time as the Revere House as part of a row of three similar wooden dwellings. The three houses were built after the great fire of November, 1676, had ravaged the neighborhood. Puritan minister Increase Mather, whose house had stood where the Revere House now stands, recorded the events of that "Fatal and dismal day" in his journal.
The Barnards were master housewrights and carpenters for generations. They had lived in North Square before the fire, and descendants still lived in the house over a century later. Matthew Barnard probably built the three-house row, including his family's house on the south, the Revere House (then occupied by merchant Robert Howard), and the Wyborne House on the north.
Paul Revere purchased the middle house in 1770. He and his family lived here during the Revolution, and sold the house in 1800. Of the three houses built by the Barnards only the Revere House survives. Both the Wynborne and Barnard houses were destroyed by the 1880s for development. Now over 300 years old, the Revere House is unique as the only surviving example of urban architecture from 17th century America. Its strength is a testament to the skill of early Boston builders.