Massachusetts Facts
Massachusetts Facts

28 Interesting Massachusetts Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published March 29, 2023
  • Norfolk County, Massachusetts, is known as the County of Presidents. It's the birthplace of four U.S. presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, and George H. W. Bush.[3]
  • Massachusetts is home to Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, which is from the Algonquian words that, roughly translated, mean, "you fish on your side; I fish on my side; nobody fishes in the middle" or "boundary lake."[3]
  • Early settlers planted the United States' first apple and pear trees on Massachusetts' Governors Island.[4]
  • In Massachusetts, the most important maple tree is the sugar maple, which is the main source of maple syrup.[3]
  • The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is in Springfield, Massachusetts. James Naismith invented basketball in the city in 1891. Early hoops were peach baskets.[4]
  • Great Blue Hill Fact
    The Great Blue Hill is the origin of Massachusetts' name
  • The name Massachusetts is from the Algonquian Indian word meaning "near the great mountain."[3]
  • Nantucket was once the whaling capital of the world.[3]
  • The Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester has one of the world's largest collections of weapons and armor. Among its exhibits are a Roman gladiator helmet, Viking weapons, and samurai swords.[3]
  • Massachusetts is the United States' second-largest producer of cranberries, after Wisconsin.[3]
  • Started in 1897, the Boston Marathon is the world's oldest marathon. Over 20,000 people run in the marathon each year (pre-COVID).[4]
  • The Puritans founded America's first democratic institution: the town meeting. At the town meeting, every member of the church had the right to speak, and decisions were made by majority rule.[3]
  • In 1621, the Puritans elected William Bradford as governor of Plymouth. He was reelected 30 times.[3]
  • Residents of Massachusetts are officially called "Bay Staters."[3]
  • Molasses Flood Fact
    Legend holds that on warm days, you can still smell molasses
  • On January 15, 1919, a storage tank burst, releasing a tsunami of molasses down the streets of Boston. It killed 21 people, injured 150, and molasses could be smelled in the area for decades.[4]
  • Massachusetts has one of the most educated workforces. An estimated 1 in 3 people has at least a bachelor degree.[4]
  • The first World Series took place in Boston in 1903. The Boston Red Sox defeated Pittsburg 5–3.[3]
  • Massachusetts' state heroine is Deborah Samson, who assumed a male identity to fight in the Revolutionary War.[3]
  • The Fig Newton was named after Newton, Massachusetts.[3]
  • The Boston Lighthouse is the first lighthouse built in the United States.[3]
  • America's first public school, the Boston Latin School, opened in 1635.[1]
  • Johny Appleseed Fact
    Johnny Appleseed's real name was John Chapman. He was born in Massachusetts on September 26, 1774, and grew up during the Revolutionary War
  • Massachusetts named Johnny Appleseed the state hero in 1996.[3]
  • Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1706.[1]
  • The official state cat of Massachusetts is the tabby cat.[3]
  • Established in 1634, Boston Commons is the first public park in the United States.[3]
  • The Puritans once banned Christmas in Massachusetts.[4]
  • The Boston Library was the first public library in the United States.[1]
  • Colonists destroyed an estimated 19 million cups of tea during the Boston Tea Party.[2]
  • The Boston terrier is the first purebred dog in the United States.[3]

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