While everyone no doubt knows that Massachusetts is where Paul Revere took his famous ride during the Revolutionary War, crying, “The British are coming,” there are many things about the state you may not know. The following list is comprised of 14 fun facts about the state of Massachusetts. How many of these do you suppose you already know?
You might have already guessed what breed got the title of the Massachusetts state dog. It’s the Boston Terrier. It’s the first purebred dog to come from the United States.
The area now known as the city of Boston was once called Shawmut. Named by Native Americans, it was changed after many made the trans-Atlantic move from England to the Colonies. It was named Boston after a town in Lincolnshire, England.
There’s long been a rumor going around that claims Fig Newton cookies were named after Sir Isaac Newton. It’s not true, however. Fig Newtons are named after the town of Newton, Massachusetts. The Nabisco company once had a facility nearby, and was known for naming their earlier brands after nearby cities or towns.
The first-ever telephone call in all of history took place in Boston. Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant Thomas Watson spoke together on telephone receivers while in separate rooms in the same house. “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you,” is what Bell, the inventor, said to Watson. This took place in 1876.
In 1903, the first transatlantic wireless message between the United States and England took place in Wellfleet, Massachusetts via Morse code. The inventor, Guglielmo Marconi transmitted a message from President Theodore Roosevelt to King Edward VII.
Did you know that as of July 1, 2016, the population of Massachusetts was listed at 6,794,422? It’s grown a bit since the 1816 census, which claimed the state was inhabited at that time by just 523,287 people.
Boston Latin is the oldest school in America, established in 1635, and it was the first public school as well. It teaches just under 2,500 students yearly still. Boston is also home to the oldest college or university in the country. Harvard University was established there in 1636.
The chocolate chip—or Toll House—cookie was invented in Massachusetts. It is, incidentally, the state cookie. In 1938, Ruth Wakefield of Whitman tossed some pieces of semi-sweet chocolate into her cookie dough. Originally called Toll House Crunch Cookies, they grew even more popular when the recipe was published in a Boston newspaper. Ruth Wakefield and her husband Kenneth owned and operated the Toll House Inn.
These days practically everyone knows Massachusetts is a hotbed of sports activity. The Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, the New England Patriots, and the Boston Bruins all make nationwide news throughout their respective seasons. Did you know, however, that basketball was invented in Massachusetts? It was invented in Springfield in 1891 by James Naismith. Volleyball was invented in Massachusetts, too. Originally called “Mintonette,” it was invented by an instructor at the YMCA in Holyoke. William G. Morgan was the inventor, and he first played the game in 1895.
The Massachusetts state flower is the Mayflower, but it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the ship of the same name on which the pilgrims traveled to America. In fact, when it came time to vote on the state flower back in the early 1900s, the Mayflower was almost beaten out by the Water Lily.
Did you know that Massachusetts has a state beverage? Not every state can lay such a claim. In 1970, cranberry juice was named the state beverage in honor of the many cranberry farmers in the state.
If you’ve ever savored a fluffernutter—a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich, you have Massachusetts to thank. Marshmallow flulff was invented in Somerville’s Union Square in 1917.
Massachusetts is home to a wealth of famous residents. Steve Carrell of “The Office” fame is from Marshfield, and typically still spends summers there. Former Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler lives in Marshfield, too, when he’s not on tour. Singer Ray LaMontagne moved from Nashua, New Hampshire to Ashfield, Massachusetts in 2009. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen live with their children just outside of Boston. 1970’s singing sensation and Grammy-winner Carly Simon lives on Martha’s Vineyard. Staind frontman Aaron Lewis lives in Worthington.
The first computer was invented in Cambridge, Massachusetts at MIT in 1928.
There’s no denying that Massachusetts is definitely fun. These 14 facts only skim the surface of the fun facts the state boasts.