Massachusetts - Fast Facts & Trivia

Great Point Light, Nantucket, just after dawn

  • By 1838, the Boston & West Worcester Railroad was the first railway company to charge commuter prices.

  • The Boston University Bridge on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston is the only place in the world where a boat can travel under a train that drives under a plane that is under an airplane.

  • The Mather School was founded in 1639 in Dorchester. It is the first public elementary school in America.

  • On top of the business building on Center Street in Jamaica Plain sits a weathervane with a whale on it. The building was once the state headquarters of Greenpeace. - "Save the whales"

  • John Adams and John Quincy Adams are buried in the crypt of United First Church in Quincy.

  • The Children's Museum in Boston shows a huge milk bottle on the wharf of the museum. If it were real, it would contain 50,000 gallons of milk and 8,620 gallons of cream.

  • Princeton was named after Reverend Thomas Prince, pastor of the Old South Church in Boston, and one of the city's first owners. Princeton was founded in 1759.

  • Barnstable County is the only county in Massachusetts where deaths between 1990 and 1997 were counted.

  • The Pilgrim National Wax Museum in Plymouth is the only wax museum dedicated to the pilgrim's history.

  • In 1908, Miss Caroline O. Emmerton purchased the House of the Seven Gables, built in 1668, restored it to its present state and opened it to the public in 1910. The seven-gabled house inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne to write his famous novel of the same name.

  • The Boston Tea Party reenactment takes place every 16th December at Boston Harbor.

  • Balance Rock in Lanesborough is named in honor of a 25 x 15 x 10 large boulder balancing on a small rock below.  

  • Massachusetts began in June 1903 with the issuance of licenses and license plates.   

  • The 3rd Monday in April is a holiday in Massachusetts called Patriot's Day.  

  • The first Thanksgiving day was celebrated in 1621 in Plymouth.   

  • William Hill Brown published 1789 The Power of Sympathy in Worcester. An imitation of Goethe's suffering of the young Werther is considered the first American novel.   

  • The fourteen counties in Massachusetts consist of 43 cities and 308 cities.  

  • Charles Goodyear in Woburn first vulcanized in 1839.   

  • Elias Howe from Boston invented the first sewing machine in 1845.   

  • The first nuclear-powered surface ship, USS Long Beach CG (N) 9, was commissioned at Quincy in 1961.   

  • The USS Constitution "Old Ironsides", the oldest fully operational US Navy ship, is permanently moored to the Charlestown Navy Yard. Since 1897, the ship has been overhauled several times in dry dock 1.   

  • Revere Beach was the first public beach in the United States and is home to the Suffolk Downs Racecourse, the Wonderland Dog Races and a 14-room cinema complex.   

  • The official state dessert from Massachusetts is Boston Cream Pie.   

  • Milford is known the world over for its unique pink granite, discovered in the 1870s, which for many years produced the outer walls of museums, government buildings, monuments and train stations.   

  • Acushnet is the hometown of the Titleist Golf Ball Company.

  • 552 original documents referring to Salem's witch trials of 1692 have been preserved and are still kept in the Peabody Essex Museum.

  • Boston built the first subway system in the United States in 1897.

  • Although over 30 communities in the colonies eventually renamed themselves to honor Benjamin Franklin. The Massachusetts Town of Franklin was the first and changed its name in 1778.

  • Norfolk County is the birthplace of four presidents of the United States: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and George Herbert Walker Bush.

  • In Holyoke created William G. Morgan 1895 a new game called "Mintonette". After a demonstration at the YMCA in nearby Springfield, the name "Mintonette" was replaced by the now popular name "Volleyball".

  • In Rockport there is a house that consists exclusively of newspapers.

  • Founded in 1784, Hingham's Derby Academy is the oldest coeducational school in the United States. The first parish of Hingham is the oldest church in the United States, which is constantly used as a place of worship.

  • The Fig Newton was named after Newton, Massachusetts.

  • The visible part of the Plymouth Rock is a lumpy fragment of a glacier moraine the size of a coffee table, engraved in the year 1620. After being dragged through the city of Plymouth by raiders who once inspired revolutionary soldiers, and reverently hacked and scraped by 19th century souvenir hunters, it now lays near Plymouth Harbor.

  • The Basketball Hall Of Fame is located in Springfield.

  • James Michael Curley was the first mayor of Boston to own a car. The plate number was "576" - the number of letters in "James Michael Curley". The mayor of Boston's official car still uses the same number on his plate.

  • The American industrial revolution began in Lowell. Lowell was America's first planned industrial city.

  • On October 1, 1998, "Say Hello To Someone From Massachusetts" was approved by Lenny Gomulka as the official polka of the Commonwealth.

  • 1634: Boston Common became the first public park in America.

  • 1891: The first basketball game was played in Springfield.

  • Massachusetts holds the two largest cities in New England, Boston, the largest, and Worcester.

  • The creation of the Cape Cod National Seashore, formerly a private city and state-owned property, marked for the first time that the federal government purchased land for a park.

  • Robert Goddard, inventor of the first liquid-fueled rocket, was born and spent much of his life in Worcester, launching the first liquid-fueled rocket from neighboring Auburn.

  • Quincy has the first Dunkin Donuts on Hancock Street and the first Howard Johnson's on Newport Ave.

  • Glaciers formed the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard during the Ice Age.

  • The first U.S. Postal zip code in Massachusetts is 01001 at Agawam.

  • Brewster has become the de facto "Cape Cod's wedding capital" as there are many small and large wedding inns.

  • The contraceptive pill was invented at Clark University in Worcester.

  • The signs along the Massachusetts Turnpike that read "x miles to Boston" refer to the distance from this point to the Gold Dome of the State House.

  • Harvard was the first college in North America. Harvard was founded in 1636. Due to the size of Harvard, there is no universal mailing address that works for any office at the university.

  • By 1838, the Boston & West Worcester Railroad was the first railway company to charge commuter prices.

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