Massachusetts is one of the oldest and most well-known states in the country, and its long history also makes it one of the most interesting. Continue reading below for 20 fascinating facts about Massachusetts.
1 The first subway system in the United States was built in Boston, MA in 1897.
2 The first, and perhaps most prestigious, college in North America is Harvard. This Massachusetts college was founded in 1636.
3 There are few states that have played a larger role in American history, and Massachusetts has been there since the beginning. In fact, the Pilgrims founded Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts in 1620.
4 In the late 1770’s, Massachusetts became the center for resistance from British rule—most notably with the Boston Tea Party of 1773.
5 In 1775, it is said that the American Revolution officially began at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts.
6 The oldest public park in the United States was purchased by Boston citizens as a public space in 1634. It is named “Boston Common.”
7 Both basketball and volleyball were first invented in Massachusetts.
8 John Chapman, also known as Johnny Appleseed, hailed from Massachusetts. He went on to introduce healthy apple trees and orchards to a large part of the country.
9 The first American to win the Nobel Prize was Albert A. Michelson of Worcester, Massachusetts. He was a part of Clark University’s physics department and performed work with light measurement.
10 The first American purebred dog breed is the Boston Terrier. It is a cross between the English Bulldog and the English Terrier.
11 Massachusetts’ state flower is the mayflower, while its state bird is the black-capped chickadee.
12 Contrary to popular belief, the Fig Newton cookie was not named for Sir Isaac Newton, but rather for the town of Newton, Massachusetts.
13 Massachusetts has been the home to numerous famous faces and historical figures. These individuals include Dr. Seuss, Susan B. Anthony, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, Sylvia Plath, and many former U.S. Presidents including John Adams and John F. Kennedy.
14 Major industries in Massachusetts include electronics, communications, publishing, tourism, and fishing.
15 The state of Massachusetts gets its name from the Algonquian Indian word for “a big hill place.”
16 The Salem witch trials are an infamous time in Massachusetts history. The trials began in 1692 when young girls came forward claiming to have been possessed with an evil spirit. Over the ensuing year, 20 people were killed for suspected witchcraft.
17 The sewing machine was invented by Massachusetts native Elias Howe in 1790. Massachusetts was greatly known for its textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution.
18 Boston was also home to the very first telephone call. Alexander Graham Bell used the device to call his assistant in another room.
19 In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state in the United States to legalize gay marriage.
20 On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth official state in the United States following the ratification of the Constitution.