Facts about Boston: 30 Incredible Facts about the Athens of America

Boston is a beautiful and quaint city located in Massachusetts in the northeastern United States. The city is gorgeous and fascinating. The streets and neighborhoods of Boston are lined with marvelous colonial-style and modern buildings. The city is a phenomenal blend of modernity and culture. 

Due to its rich history and culture, Boston has many interesting facts attached to it. In our guide, we will be exploring enthralling facts about the city of Boston. 

 30 Incredible Facts About Boston

1. Boston wasn’t always called Boston 

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Before the colonization of Boston, it was largely inhabited by Algonquian Tribes who referred to Boston as Shawmut Peninsula. Shawmut means ‘living waters’ in Algonquian. 

2. Boston got its name from an English town

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A 100 miles to the north of London, in Lincolnshire is a town called Boston. So when Europeans settled in the city, they named it after their town in England.

3. The first American subway was inaugurated in Boston

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During the second phase of the American Industrial Revolution, the first subway called the Boston Subway was built in the USA in Boston in the year 1897. 

With the population and immigration boom of the 19th century, the streets of Boston were overcrowded with people, travelers, sellers, bullocks, etc. Frequent natural calamities such as blizzards and storms also contributed to the city’s transport coming to a halt.

The subway was planned by city officials to combat the congestion and transportation woes of the people of Boston. It was a revolutionary point in not only the history of Boston but all of the United States.

4. Boston loves baseball so much that their Red Sox team has patented a color!

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Baseball is extremely popular in Boston. So much so that the iconic Boston baseball team Red Sox has patented the color ‘Fenway Green’, the color of the Green Monster, a 37-foot high left-field wall at Fenway Park.

5. There is no ‘Happy Hour’ in Boston bars

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Since 1984, any sort of happy hour special drinks have been outlawed in Boston. This ban was put in place because a woman died due to driving under the influence of alcohol. Don’t be shocked if you hit up a bar in Boston and there are no Happy Hours! 

6. There are still many ‘Blue Laws’ in place in Boston

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Blue Laws or ‘Sunday Laws’ are bans or restrictions put in place during Sundays to encourage worship and rest by the Puritans. They were imposed in the early United States and many are still in place in Boston.
Laws such as ‘No Happy Hours’ and ‘ no selling of alcohol before 10 am on a Sunday’ are still enforced in the city. 

7. There was no Christmas in Boston for over 2 decades

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Another Blue Law put in place in Boston was prohibiting any Christmas celebrations. The ban was imposed in 1659 due to beliefs that Christmas had pagan roots and was a ‘corrupted’ holiday. If caught celebrating the holiday, a five-shilling fine had to be paid. The ban was lifted in 1681, after 22 years.

8. Boston’s nickname ‘Bean Town’ is quite literal!

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Boston is often fondly called ‘Bean Town’ as baked beans were and still are one of the most popular staples amongst the citizens of the city.

9. There are many strange laws ‘technically’ in place in Boston

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Although not enforced in the current times, many laws from the Puritan age that we may now consider weird still technically exist in Boston. For example, it is illegal to snore at night with your windows open. Yelling profanities or cursing at sportspersons or professionals during a sports event can cause a fine of 50 USD. If you live in Boston and wish to have a goatee, you may need a special license!  Most of these laws are (thankfully) not enforced now and only exist on paper.

10. Boston was also the city where a Hollywood-esque art heist took place 

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On March 18, 1990, two thieves impersonated cops and stole 12 paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the Fenway Neighbourhood in Boston. This was the biggest art theft in history, with over 500 million dollars worth of art stolen. The thieves are still at large and the stolen art hasn’t been recovered. A bounty of 10 million USD has been announced by the government.

11. The daily weather forecast in Boston is told by a skyscraper!

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The 200 Clarendon Skyscraper, earlier known as the old John Hancock Tower, has colorful flashing lights at its top that tell the daily weather forecast for Boston. When the lights flash a dark blue shade, it means that the sky will be clear. Flashing blue signifies a cloudy day, solid red says that there will be rain, and flashing red means one can expect snow. Staying true to Boston’s love for baseball, the 200 Clarendon also has a special signal to inform the public that a Red Sox game has been canceled.

12. The first public beach in the United States of America was opened in Boston

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The Revere Beach, known as the Chelsea Beach during the colonial period, was a site of many historical events such as the Revere Beach riot of 1920. It was also the first American beach to be opened to the general people.

13. The iconic Boston Tea Party was a major turning point in American history and freedom from the colonial rule...

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The Boston Tea party was a protest by the people of America against the Tea Act of 10, 1773. This act exempted the British East India Company from paying taxes for selling tea from China in the American colonies.

This enraged the people of America and they boarded the ships full of tea sent by the British East India Company, throwing the crates of tea into the sea. This in turn inspired the American Revolution.

14…and it is reenacted every year on December 16!

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The Old South Meeting House holds the reenactment of the Boston Tea Party incident to celebrate Boston’s role in gaining America its freedom. The residents of Boston dress up as people did in the colonial times and live through the historic event. 

15. The Declaration of Independence of the United States was first proclaimed in Boston

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Boston is a sight of many great historical persons and events. The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America was first proclaimed in the iconic Old State House. Colonel and American patriot Thomas Crafts read the proclamation on July 18 from the balcony of the Old State House to the citizens gathered in King Street.

16. The oldest public park in the United States is located in Boston

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In 1634, the Boston Common was established as the first public park of the United States of America.

17. One can dive 90 feet underneath the earth’s surface in Boston!

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The deepest tunnel of North America is located in Boston. The Ted Williams Tunnel located in Boston is 90 feet underneath the surface of the earth. The Tunnel is named after the Boston Red Sox baseball icon and U.S. Marine air corps veteran Ted Williams.

18. The Salem witch Trials also took place in Boston

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The infamous Salem Witch Trials happened in the Boston area between February 1692 and May 1693. These were hearings and prosecutions of people, mostly women, accused of practicing witchcraft. These tragic tales have been widely used in modern literature as cautionary tales about extremism, and isolationism. The Salem Witch Museum is located in Boston and showcases displays and presentations on this historic tragedy.

19. The oldest university in the United States is situated in Boston

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Boston is also revered for its educational opportunities and institutions. Harvard is the oldest university in the United States of America. It opened in 1636 and is still considered to be one of the most prestigious schools in the entire world.

20. The site of the novel Little Women is located in Boston

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The Louisa May Alcott House in Concord is where the author of the well-renowned novel Litlle Women, Louisa May Alcott lived. The house is open to tourists for visiting.

21. Boston was covered with molasses in 1919

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A storage tank containing millions of gallons of molasses burst and flooded the city of Boston. The pressure rose in the tank due to the temperature which led to it bursting. The viscous sweetener was at one point 25 feet high. This came to be known as the Great Molasses Flood of Boston.

The flood ravaged the city, covering it with a thick, sticky brown liquid, and ended up taking 21 lives. About 150 people were injured and a lot of property damage ensued.

22. Boston is home to many famous personalities

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Boston has given the world many historic figures, leaders, pop culture icons, etc. John F. Kennedy was born in Boston in 1917. He was also elected to the Congress for Massachusetts in 1947. Hollywood icons such as Matt Damon, Chris Evans, Mark Wahlberg, and Barbara Walters are all natives of Boston.

23. We have Boston to thank for Candle Pin Bowling

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Candle Pin Bowling was invented in Boston in the year 1880 by Justin White, the owner of a local bowling center and billiards parlor. It is similar to the standard bowling game but the difference lies in the terminology and scoring system. It is a fun game and easier for beginners.

24. The Boston University Bridge is an architectural marvel

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The only place in the world where boats can sail through the waters, under a train going under a vehicle driving, while under an airplane is the Boston University Bridge!

25. The first chocolate factory in the United States was opened in Boston

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Boston is home to many firsts for the United States of America. The first chocolate factory in the USA was built in the Lower mills area in the Dorchester neighborhood in Boston.

26. Boston Harbor boasts of the first-ever American lighthouse

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The first lighthouse of the United States was built in the Litlle Brewster Island in Boston in the year 1716.

27. The first Dunkin Donuts was located near Boston

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The first Dunkin Donuts in the world opened about 10 miles from Boston in Quincy.  It is still located there and is an iconic restaurant.

28. Thanksgiving was first celebrated in Boston

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The first Thanksgiving feast was hosted in 1621 by the Pilgrims in New World after the first harvest.

29. The Oldest Major League baseball stadium is in Boston

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It is no secret how much the city loves sports, especially baseball. Boston has shown its passion for baseball throughout history and hence it is no surprise that the oldest Major League baseball stadium that is still in use is located in Boston. Fenway Park opened in 1912 and is home to the iconic Boston team Red Sox.

30. Boston is the only State capital in the United States that boasts of a coastline

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Boston has over 76 kilometers of coastline along with 34 harbor islands. It is the capital city of the state of Massachusetts and the only American State capital with a shoreline.

Boston is an incredible city with fascinating facts attached to it. Let us know in the comments if there are more interesting facts about Boston that you know.

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