Since in my book, Despicable Lies, Danielle and Alex worked at the Massachusetts General Hospital and lived near historic Fenway Park, I did some research about interesting and fun facts about Boston. Here’s what I discovered at the IHG – 20 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Boston site.
- Boston is actually named after a town in England. Many of Boston’s early settlers were from Boston, England, and decided to keep the name.
- The first American lighthouse was built in Boston harbor in 1716 on Little Brewster Island. It is no longer there, but the current lighthouse is actually the second-oldest working lighthouse in the United States, dating back to 1783.
- Boston is home to the oldest public park in the U.S. It’s called the Boston Commons and is a huge green sanctuary within the city and dates back to 1634.
- “Happy Hours” are against the law. The post-work “happy hour” drink deals have been banned since 1984.
- The fig newton is named after the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts.
- The Red Sox have a patent on a color. The Green Monster is so renowned that the Red Sox have patented the shade of “Fenway Green”.
- Boston was home to the first U.S. chocolate factory in the Dorchester suburban neighborhood.
- In January 1919, a storage tank holding more than 2 million gallons of molasses burst, sending the hot syrupy substance through the North End of Boston. It killed 21 people, several horses, and injured more than 100 others.
- In the turn of the century Boston, you didn’t need to take a test to receive a driver’s license. In was not until 1920 that the city began requiring a driving test before issuing someone a license.
- The first U.S. subway was built, the Tremont Street station, in 1897.
- Beantown really is about baked beans. The city’s nickname comes from the popularity of baked beans and molasses amongst its early residents.
- You can drive 90 feet below the earth’s surface in Boston. The Ted Williams Tunnel is the deepest in North America.
- Christmas was once banned. Bostonians couldn’t celebrate Christmas between 1659-1681. It was against the law because the Pilgrims believed it to be a corrupted holiday.
- Boston is the home of the first public beach, Revere Beach and now it’s the home of the International Sand Sculpting Festival.
- $100 million in paintings were stolen from the Stewart Gardner Museum on March 18,1990. (My husband and I were living in Boston at the time and remember it well.) Two thieves posing as cops stole 12 paintings. It is still the biggest art theft to date.
- Some of Hollywood’s most recognizable stars are Bostonians… Mark Wahlberg, James Spader, Jasmine Guy, Uma Thurman, Matt Damon, Connie Britton, Leonard Nimoy, and Barbara Walters are only a few.
- The city is full of walkers. As of 2012 and according to the U.S. Census Bureau data, 15.1% of Bostonians walk to work…the highest percentage among the major U.S. cities.
- Bostonians get their weather forecasts from a skyscraper. Colored lights on top of the old John Hancock Tower (now called 200 Clarendon) tell Bostonians the daily weather forecast. The options are solid blue, meaning it’s a clear day; flashing blue signifying a cloudy day or clouds are coming; solid red, saying there’s rain coming; flashing red, means snow is coming. In the summer, flashing red means the red Sox game is rained out.
Having lived in Boston, in the state of “TAXachussetts, (as my husband calls it) I can attest to its charm and beauty. It exudes American History and each year puts on a fabulous Fourth of July celebration complete with marching bands, the reading of the constitution and a spectacular firework display over the Charles River tied to climax with the William Tell Overture played by the Boston Pops Orchestra.
When we first moved there, my husband and I took one of the famous “Duck Tour” rides around the city. To this day I still remember when the converted bus stopped in front of the state capitol building. The guide began explaining, as he pointed out General Hooker’s statue, that “back in the day” the girl friends of the soldiers begged not to be left behind and to accompany their men. General Hooker permitted this revolutionary idea, and the ladies were nicknamed “Hookers Women” …thus eventually shorten to “Hookers.” Now that’s an interesting piece of trivia.
If any of my readers have fun facts or interesting stories about their own home towns or places you’ve visited, please send them to me. If I receive enough of them, I will compile them into another blog.
Until my next inspiration…ciao.