Well kids, we’ve been learning a lot of History by looking at statues, haven’t we.  Today’s entry is Paul Revere, an amazing guy – – silversmith, engraver, industrialist, propagandist, volunteer soldier, and patriot.

When I examined this statue, I noticed straight away, something very odd – – no pigeons were roosting on it. 

It’s always nice to see someone on horseback, who isn’t brandishing a sword.  But I also found his pose a bit odd, and wondered aloud, why Paul was depicted with his arm out like that.  A well-informed passerby informed me that Revere was famous for feeding the birds as he rode, and told me the story of “Paul & the Pigeons in the Park,” which has been set to verse.  I also have his recipe for Pigeon Pie, if anyone wants it.    


In days of old

Pigeons were bold

And chased all the kids from their play.

Never seen in the park,

Were the robin or lark,

Only pigeons on pavements gray.


In parks they’d lurk

Twice as big as a turk-

Ey, in days of yore


Kids sad as Eeyore


Then a hero did appear,

Named Paul Revere.


Paul mounted his steed,

And cast down bird seed,

Luring pigeons onto the highway.

On they came, bad and fat,

And Paul’s horse stomped them flat.

And for dinner they had them that day.


Boston loves its beans and cod,

Banks and money, more than God.

And Sam Adams rocks –

A very fine beer,

But after the Sox,

It’s Paul they Revere.





Granny Hitchborn’s Receipt for Pigeon Pye

Take ye the pigeons that look to be young fat & sweet.   After ye have trimmed them, drawn them, and trussed them as ye would a squab, scrub in salt water & then scald in fair water, heated ‘til seething.  Beat with a billet of wood & pluck them.  Then kill the birds & boil them until it be sufficient.

Lay the birds in a charger & add a handful of whortleberries, unless they be more sour than a Pilgrim at a May Pole Dance, then add rather a goodly store of currants instead.

Now boil the blood and with it Madeira & plenty of mace nutmeg & pepper.  Gum Arabick if needs thickening.

Roll a crust of flour & lard, or lard & hard tack, broke into pieces, or lard, flour, lard, hard tack & lard, and lay on it the crust daintily and bake it

When it has cooked sufficient, on top scatter rosemary & thyme, to lay the smell a bit.

Let cool before cutting and watch ye out for beaks.

Alternate History, Arrant Nonsense, Boston, Colonial History, Early American History, food, History, Public Art, Removing Statues, Revisionist History, statue, United States

Learning All About History By Looking at Statues. Chapter VII. Boston – – Paul’s Pigeon Pie


32 thoughts on “Learning All About History By Looking at Statues. Chapter VII. Boston – – Paul’s Pigeon Pie

  1. Many fans of the Beatles might agree with your clever line: “It’s Paul they Revere.” As for that last name, I got curious about whether it’s really the same word as the verb. According to Ancestry.com at


    it’s a “variant of Rivière, Rivoire, or Rivier, topographic name for someone living on the banks of a river, French rivier ‘bank’, or habitational name from any of the many places in France named with this word.”

    True to his name, Paul Revere did get rowed across the Charles River on the night of his ride.

    • “Paul’s Pigeon Pancakes, an important part of a high-fiber diet, ’cause we leave the feathers in” “Pige Pandekage” does that sound right?
      Thanks for writing, and glad you got a chuckle out of it.

  2. Pummeled pigeon pie. Wouldn’t it taste like chicken? I’m not planning to find out but am curious what else is in that recipe. I’ve always felt sorry for pigeons. They get a bad rap, like crows. You gave me new appreciation for those.

    • I’m so glad you want the recipe! I’ll find it tonight and will post it – but it’s worse than the horse-stomping thing.
      Yeah, sometimes I feel sorry for the pigeons, too, In Rochester, not far from where I grew up, there’s peregrine falcons, and they swoop down on the pigeons. The falcons live on an old bank building from the ’30’s, with metal wings on top – everyone thinks it’s cool, and they have a webcam on the nest, but sometimes it actually strikes me as kind of sinister, like a dark Batman movie. I’ve never photographed that building, but here’s a link.

  3. Did you write the recipe too? “Until seething” really? 🙂 You are amazing – wonderful, wonderful work! Thank you for a smidgen of entertainment in times of dire deeds.

    • Oh, thank you! I’m always so glad if somebody gets a chuckle out of this.
      I adopted the recipe from some 17-18th century ones I’d read. The extra lard was my idea, though, you can never go wrong with a little extra shmalz.

  4. Ah, I see the whole “British are coming” bit was fake news. Personally, I thought he was merely signaling a right turn there, you wouldn’t want a horseman coming up hard behind you run you down like a pigeon.

    Or maybe he was just looking for handouts.

    • I totally overlooked that, Dave, hand signals for turns, flashback to Driver’s Ed class, you’re right!
      Mayor Curley should definitely be shown with his palm out to be greased. Four terms as mayor, part of which while locked up in a federal prison, plus Governor and Congress, and I think there’s at least two statues of the guy!

    • “Run you down like a pigeon” sounded like it should be a standard American expression, but the closest I found was the Pretenders “Got in the house like a pigeon from hell,” so I think you’ve originated this phrase, now the SPCA will be after you!

      • Well, you were the inspiration: “And Paul’s horse stomped them flat”. Although I don’t know if I’d want to have a roadkill pigeon after it’s been subject to the concentrated hoofprint force of a 2000 lb critter.

        And if the SPCA come after me, I’ll tell ’em a pigeon ran me down, they should go after the pigeon. 😉

  5. I agree with Dave above. In the days before flashing indicators were attached to a horse’s rear-end, this was the only possibility to indicate a change of direction.

  6. Such clever writing. I wonder if Paul got a receipt for those pigeons he stomped: other than Granny Hitchborn’s, of course. Good that you included her note to watch out for beaks! And I thought you’d made up the whortleberries. Not so — I found this fascinating read about picking them in England.

    I confess to some ambivalence about pigeons. They certainly do a fine job of sucking up every bit of seed I put out for the songbirds. Then, once they finish the seed, they run the other birds off, just for grins. I don’t think Revere’s horse would fit on my balcony, but there have been a few times I would have been willing to let him stomp down the whole lot of them.

    • There are some spots in Boston with layers of guano from the pigeons, and sometimes city parks, where you cannot find six feet of grass to stretch out, because the Canada geese have carpet-bombed the entire lawn. Maybe time to smuggle in some coyotes and more hawks, to reduce the pigeon/goose populations.

  7. I woke up this morning thinking: Revere Ware! I still have a couple of pieces of my mother’s, and it’s great cookware. Look at this, from the company’s website:

    “The British are coming. One if by land, two if by sea.” If you studied American history, there is a good chance this famous quote attributed to Paul Revere has stuck with you. But what you may not know is that this horseback-riding hero had historic impact on how we cook today, too.

    REVERE® was also famous for starting a state-of-the-art copper foundry after the Revolutionary War that gave him the ability to “roll” malleable sheets of copper. What does this have to do with cooking? Revere’s new capabilities led to many successful business opportunities, including the introduction of REVERE® WARE cookware with the help of his innovative son and partner, Joseph Warren Revere.”

    I wonder if they refined their product by giving it a try with pigeon pie?

    • I think those pans are study enough to get rid of a few pests, too, if you don’t have a horse handy.
      My parents have an old Revere frying pan, not sure who they inherited it from, that we still use, with the copper bottom. And because of childhood visits to Mystic Seaport, the USS Constitution, etc. I knew that sailing ships in the old days were copper-bottomed, with sheathing made by Revere, just like the pans. Sometimes, reading oldtime books and newspapers, you’ll see “copper-bottomed” used as a compliment, meaning solid and well-built.
      Paul Revere was sure an impressive guy – talented and hard-working. Casting bells was another venture, and I’m sorry they didn’t have him make the Liberty Bell, I’m sure it wouldn’t have cracked.

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