Interesting facts about Massachusetts

flag of massachusetts

Massachusetts is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States.

The state is officially known as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west.

As of June 2018, the population of Massachusetts was estimated to be 6,895,917. It is the 15th most populous state in the United States.

Massachusetts is the 44th largest state in the United States in terms of total area with 10,565 square kilometers (27,337 square miles).

Boston is the capital city and most populous municipality of Massachusetts in the United States. It is the most populous city in the New England region. Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States, founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England.

boston common

Despite its small size, Massachusetts features numerous topographically distinctive regions. The large coastal plain of the Atlantic Ocean in the eastern section of the state contains Greater Boston, along with most of the state’s population, as well as the distinctive Cape Cod peninsula. To the west lies the hilly, rural region of Central Massachusetts, and beyond that, the Connecticut River Valley. Along the western border of Western Massachusetts lies the highest elevated part of the state, the Berkshires.

Mount Greylock is the highest natural point in Massachusetts at 1,063 meters (3,489 feet). Its peak is located in the northwest corner of the state in the western part of the town of Adams (near its border with Williamstown) in Berkshire County.

mount greylock

Massachusetts has almost 310 kilometers (193 miles) of coastline. The coastline of Massachusetts and its offshore islands are remnants of the last Ice Age. That jagged, and rockbound Atlantic Ocean coastline is a mixture of bays, inlets, sandy beaches, odd-shaped islands – all ending in granite cliffs in the far north.

Massachusetts has 15 national parks and 24 state parks.

As the most popular national park in Massachusetts, Cape Cod is home to 65 kilometers (40 miles) of the National Seashore. The National Seashore includes trails, visitor centers, and six beaches that are open year round. There are lifeguards on the beaches from late June through Labor Day.

cape cod

The Freedom Trail at the center of historic Boston is a red brick path through the city leading visitors to many of the city’s historic sites. This self-guided tour and map will cover the entire 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) of Freedom Trail sites and should take you two hours to complete.

freedom trail

Faneuil Hall located near the waterfront and today’s Government Center, in Boston, Massachusetts, has been a marketplace and a meeting hall since 1743. It was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others encouraging independence from Great Britain. Now it is part of Boston National Historical Park and a well-known stop on the Freedom Trail. It is sometimes referred to as “the Cradle of Liberty.”

faneuil hall

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge. Established in 1636 and named for clergyman John Harvard (its first benefactor), its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

harvard university

Boston Common (also known as the Common) is a central public park in downtown Boston. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as the Boston Commons. Dating from 1634, it is the oldest city park in the United States. The park consists of 20 hectares (50 acres) of land.

boston common

The Tremont Street Subway in Boston’s MBTA Subway system is the oldest subway tunnel in North America and the third oldest worldwide to exclusively use electric traction (after the City and South London Railway in 1890, and the Budapest Metro’s Line 1 in 1896), opening on September 1, 1897. Harvard is the United States’ oldest institution of higher learning, and the Harvard Corporation is its first chartered corporation.

tremont street subway

Boston Light is a lighthouse located on Little Brewster Island in outer Boston Harbor, Massachusetts. The first lighthouse to be built on the site dates back to 1716, and was the first lighthouse to be built in what is now the United States. The current lighthouse dates from 1783, is the second oldest working lighthouse in the United States (after Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey), and is the only lighthouse to still be actively staffed by the United States Coast Guard, being automated in 1998 though there is still a keeper acting as tour guide. The structure was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

boston common

Known colloquially as Webster Lake, the official name for the body of water in the town of Webster, Massachusetts, is Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. The Algonquian word means “English knifemen and Nipmuck Indians at the boundary or neutral fishing place” It is the longest name of any lake in the world.

webster lake

Boston Public Library is the second largest Public Library in the United States. Harvard University Library, also in Boston, is the third largest Library in the United States.

boston public library

Massachusetts was originally inhabited by tribes of the Algonquian language family such as the Wampanoag, Narragansett, Nipmuc, Pocomtuc, Mahican, and Massachusett. The Algonquian tribes inhabited the area prior to European settlement.

Massachusetts was first colonized by principally English Europeans in the early 17th century, and became the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the 18th century.

One of the original 13 colonies and one of the six New England states, Massachusetts is known for being the landing place of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims.

massachusetts map

On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the United States Constitution.

In 1692, the town of Salem and surrounding areas experienced one of America’s most infamous cases of mass hysteria, the Salem witch trials.

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

The first telephone call in history was made between inventor Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant, Thomas Watson, on March 10, 1876, in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1930, laws were proposed in Massachusetts and St. Louis to ban radios while driving. According to automotive historian Michael Lamm, “Opponents of car radios argued that they distracted drivers and caused accidents, that tuning them took a driver’s attention away from the road, and that music could lull a driver to sleep.”

The chocolate chip cookie was reportedly invented in 1930 at the Toll House Restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts. In 1997 it was designated the official cookie of the commonwealth.

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