104 Fun & Interesting Facts About Massachusetts

Are you ready to learn about a state that’s super important in American history? Let’s take a trip to Massachusetts, a place full of exciting stories, yummy treats, and amazing places. From the very first Thanksgiving to the famous city of Boston, Massachusetts, is a treasure chest of fun facts waiting to be opened. So, let’s start our adventure and find out what makes Massachusetts so special with these interesting facts about Massachusetts!

Did you know that Massachusetts is where the very first Thanksgiving happened? That’s right! The Pilgrims, who came over on the Mayflower, celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth with the Native Americans. They were thankful for their harvest and for the help they received, and that’s how this special holiday began.

Massachusetts is also home to some really cool places, like the city of Boston. Boston is not only one of the oldest cities in America, but it’s also where lots of important events happened, like the Boston Tea Party. Imagine walking on streets that are filled with so much history from hundreds of years ago!

And here’s a sweet fact about Massachusetts: it is famous for its cranberries. It grows more cranberries than almost anywhere else in the world. These little red berries are not only tasty but also full of history in Massachusetts. They even have cranberry bogs where the berries grow that you can visit!

Are you excited to learn more facts about Massachusetts? From its historical beginnings to its delicious cranberries, there’s so much to explore and discover in this fascinating state. Let’s dive deeper and uncover all the amazing stories and fun facts that make Massachusetts a wonderful place to visit and learn about!

 Be sure to discover even more interesting facts with our Facts about South Dakota and our Facts about Maryland.

Facts About Massachusetts

  1. Charles Goodyear invented the process of Vulcanization in a factory in Woburn where he lived. He accidentally combined rubber and sulfur on a hot stove.
  2. All the founders of Facebook were students at Harvard University. Facebook was founded in 2004 and grew into the largest social network in the world.
  3. Earl Tupper invented TUPPERWARE™ while he was experimenting with plastic. He molded the then-new material into containers and started marketing his products as cigarette giveaways.
  4. On March 10, 1876, it was here in Boston that the first telephone call was made when Alexander Graham Bell summoned his lab assistant, Thomas A. Watson. On the phone, he said, “Mr. Watson—come here—I want to see you.” Watson was in the next room where he heard the message from the receiver. In a letter to his father, he wrote: “The day is coming when telegraph wires will be laid on to houses just like water or gas — and friends will converse with each other without leaving home.”
  5. In 1954, the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston made the first successful kidney transplant between twins.
  6. In 1620, separatists from the Church of England, called Pilgrims, landed the Mayflower in Plymouth while trying to reach Virginia. There they founded the second English settlement in the Americas.
  7. Massachusetts is the most liberal state in the country.
  8. The official state motto of Massachusetts is “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem“, which is Latin for “By the sword, we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.”
  9. The state is bordered to the north by Vermont and New Hampshire, to the east by the Gulf of Maine of the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by Connecticut and Rhode Island, and the west by New York state.
  10.  Harvard University in Cambridge is the country’s oldest university. It is consistently ranked one of the top 5 universities in the world.
  11. In 1634, Boston Common became the country’s first public park.
  12. The National Day of Mourning, which aims to dispel myths about Thanksgiving and raise awareness about the struggles of the country’s native peoples, started in Massachusetts in 1970.
  13. The first zip code given to Massachusetts was 01001 and it is thought to be the first. This is the zip code for Agawam.
  14. The game of volleyball finds its roots in Massachusetts as well. The game of volleyball, originally called “mintonette,” was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan.
  15. The Power of Sympathy is recognized as the first American novel ever to be published. The author was the 23-year-old William Hill Brown, who published it on 23 January 1789.
  16. Another classic Massachusetts seafood dish is fried clams. For more than 100 years, many food experts have experimented with this dish to create the best-tasting recipe.
  17. In Massachusetts, it is against the law to take a lion to the movies or put a gorilla in your backseat.
  18. The world’s largest pancake breakfast was served in Springfield in 1986. Since then, it has become an annual festivity where thousands of pancakes are served.
  19. Dunkin Donuts opened its first franchise restaurant in Dedham, Massachusetts, and sold 52 varieties of donuts. The popularity of the donuts grew so much that the company by the year 1963 had opened its 100th restaurant.
  20. The first lighthouse built in the United States was the “Boston Light” located on Little Brewster Island in Boston, Massachusetts. It was built in 1716.
  1. The “Big Dig” construction project began in 1987 in Boston, rerouting the I93, and ultimately becoming the most expensive highway project in U.S. history.
  2. In Massachusetts, mourners may eat no more than three sandwiches at a wake.
  3. Quabbin Reservoir State Park protects the largest inland body of water in the state, which is Boston’s main water source.
  4. Some say that Massachusetts is shaped like a flexing arm, especially the distinctive Cape Cod, which reaches out into the ocean and curls back, forming Cape Cod Bay. Others say Massachusetts is similar in shape to America itself.
  5. The Greater Boston Area, also known as the Boston Combined Statistical Area, is home to around 4.9 million people, the 9th largest population center in the country. It spills into neighboring states Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.
  6. Massachusetts has the most doctors, psychologists, and degree holders per capita of any US state.
  7. Massachusetts was originally inhabited by Algonquian tribes including the Wampanoag, Narragansetts, Nipmucs, Pocomtucs, Mahicans, and Massachusetts, with a history going back more than 10,000 years.
  8. In 1773, crates of tea were dropped into the harbor by Boston Colonists in the Boston Tea Party.
  9. On February 11, 2007, Drew Gilpin Faust was appointed by Harvard University as its 28th and first female president.
  10. The first-ever free public elementary school in America, the Mather School, was in Dorchester. It was a one-room school and was established in 1939.
  11. Percy Spencer, an engineer from Waltham, accidentally discovered the technology that would lead to the microwave. He was testing magnetrons in a vacuum tube that generated microwaves.
  12. One of the best whale-watching spots in the world can be found at Stellwagen Bank. It is located east of Boston between Cape Cod and Cape Ann.
  13. Pink plastic flamingos were first manufactured in Leominster.
  14. There is a lake in Massachusetts named “Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.” 
  15. James Naismith invented basketball in 1891 at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith was a physical education teacher and wanted to engage his students in some physical activity while being indoors during the cold winter months.
  16. The state was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States of America.
  17. During the Salem witchcraft trials in 1692, 19 people were put to death for witchcraft.
  18. There are some 4500 black bears in Massachusetts.
  19. Massachusetts protects 4.23% of its land, which is the 7th highest percentage of any state. Over 60% of the state is covered in forest.
  20. Nicknames for Massachusetts include “The Spirit of America”, which is featured on state license plates, “The Codfish State”, and “The Pilgrim State”.
  1. There are over 160 towns, cities, and other places in Massachusetts named after places in England (this is New England, after all!) These include Boston, Avon, Cambridge, Oxford, Marlborough, Manchester, Plymouth, Worcester, Norfolk, Leeds, Chelsea, and more. 
  2. In 1617-1619, viruses brought by the Europeans killed 90% of the Native Americans in Massachusetts.
  3. In 1966, Edward W. Brooke became the first African American to be elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote.
  4. The postmaster general gets a base salary of $276,840 which is more than the salary of the vice president of the U.S. Megan Brennan, the first woman in history to hold the job, as a result, earns more than the salary of the vice president of the United States ($243,500).
  5. Massachusetts was the first to have its own paper house. It was created with 250 layers of paper that were glued together with homemade glue.
  6. Massachusetts and Missouri were the first states to require a driver’s license in 1903. The very first license plate issued by a state government (Number 1) was issued on September 1, 1903, to Frederick Tudor of Brookline.
  7. Celebrating Christmas was banned in Massachusetts. In 1659, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony made it a criminal offense to publicly celebrate the holiday. In 1856, however, Christmas finally became a public holiday in the state.
  8. Volleyball was invented in Massachusetts.
  9. The official polka song for this state is: Say Hello to Someone in Massachusetts. Leny Gomulka wrote it, and the song became official in 1998.
  10. Same-sex marriage rights were approved in 2004, the first state in the U.S. to do so.
  11. Boston Latin Grammar School was the first American public secondary school. The school was founded in Boston in 1635.
  12. There are no national parks or UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Massachusetts. The state does, however, have 154 state parks, the 6th highest number of any US state.
  13. There are two official state mammals: the right whale and the tabby cat.
  14. Citizens of Massachusetts are officially known as Bay Staters because the state’s coastline features several large bays: Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts Bay, and Ipswich Bay.
  15. The state’s name is derived from two Native American words, namely “massa” and “Wachusett “, which mean “great” and “mountain place”, respectively. 
  16. In 1629, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded around modern-day Salem and Boston, north of the older Plymouth colony.
  17. On April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon, resulting in 3 deaths and 264 injuries.
  18. Helen Magil White was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in the U.S. The degree was granted to her by Boston University in 1877.
  19. In 1794, the first ships for the U.S. Navy were built in the Hartt shipyard in Boston.
  20. Clam chowder is an official Massachusetts dish made with clams, cream, and potatoes and seasoned with black pepper.
  1. The maximum speed limit in Massachusetts is 65 mph.
  2. The official state animal of Massachusetts is the Morgan horse. The domesticated horse breed is the first of its kind and originated in West Springfield.
  3. Massachusetts is the 7th smallest state in the U.S., with a total area of 10,565 mi² (27,337 km²). 
  4. Boston cream pie (which is a cake) is the official state dessert of Massachusetts, while the official state donut is the Boston Cream Pie Donut.
  5. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), also in Cambridge, is usually ranked as one of the world’s best universities, sometimes topping the list.
  6. In 1621, the first “Thanksgiving Festival” was held by the Pilgrims.
  7. The state was named by an English explorer and colonist, John Smith, after the Massachusett tribe, whose name meant “near the great hill.”
  8. It’s technically illegal to use tomatoes in clam chowder in Massachusetts. It is prohibited to use tomatoes in clam chowder since no classic New England recipe would ever allow for tainting Massachusetts’ most famous dish with tomato!
  9. The Tabby cat is the official cat for the state of Massachusetts. It is not an official breed but simply refers to this cat’s striped coat.
  10. The first Thanksgiving was held in Massachusetts in the Plymouth Colony in 1621.
  11. Boston, Massachusetts, is the headquarters of the world’s leading brand of safety razors “Gillette.”
  12. The state also gave birth to birth control pills. Dr. Gregory Pincus developed the pills in 1959 at Clark University in Worcester.
  13. The Big Dig project was the most expensive highway construction in the US. The rerouting of the I93 started in 1987.
  14. The Witch House in Salem is one of only a few old buildings still standing. It is rumored to be haunted by witches who were tried here many years ago.
  15. On August 26, 2004, Yale neuroscientist Susan Hockfield was named president by MIT. She became the first woman to ever hold that job.
  16. In the 1980s, after a period of deindustrialization and decline, the state underwent the “Massachusetts Miracle” thanks to the financial and high-tech industry.
  17. The Boston News Letter was the first regularly issued newspaper in America. It was first published in Boston in 1704.
  18. Lake Chaubunagungamaug in Massachusetts is known for having the longest place name in the US and the third longest in the world. It is a loose translation of an Algonquian word that means “English knifemen and Nipmuck Indians at the boundary or neutral fishing place”.
  19.  Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth is the most visited state park in Massachusetts. It includes the National Monument to the Forefathers (formerly “Pilgrim Monument”), dedicated to the English pilgrims who arrived on the tip of Cape Cod in 1620, one of the first. 
  20. The official state cookie is the chocolate chip cookie, and the official state muffin is the corn muffin.
  1. Massachusetts is about a third the size of Lake Superior in the Great Lakes, half the size of Croatia, or twice as large as the Bahamas.
  2. The anthem: ‘All Hail Massachusetts,’ was first heard in the summer of 1954 at Nantasket Beach. Ten years later, it was selected as the state song.
  3. The first post office in America opened in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1639.
  4. Walden Pond, where the famous anarchist/naturalist Henry David Thoreau resided and wrote his best-known book, Walden, is in Massachusetts.
  5. Massachusetts has one of the lowest divorce rates in the US.
  6. The official state insect is the seven-spotted ladybug.
  7. Cambridge University ranked more than once in the top five colleges in the world. In 2023, it ranked as number three in the world.
  8. A coastal community north of Boston known as Marblehead provided the first ship to be used by the U.S. The ship, known as Hannah, was owned by a Marblehead resident.
  9. Massachusetts’ motto is, “Ense Petit Placidam Sub Libertate Quietem“, when translated into English reads; “By the Sword, We Seek Peace, But Peace Only Under Liberty.”
  10. Cambridge in the Massachusetts Bay Colony is where the first printing press in the U.S. was set up. This happened on September 25, 1639, and operated for 150 years.
  11. In 1786, the Ohio Land Company was formed, with many Massachusetts residents moving to Ohio.
  12. Massachusetts has its fair share of weird laws still in existence on paper. For instance, on Sunday, duels can be carried out to death as long as the Governor is present.
  13.  Boston was also home to the oldest lighthouse in America, Boston Light on Little Brewster Island, but after it was rebuilt, it became 2nd oldest after one in New Jersey.
  14. Tourism slogans for Massachusetts have included “Massachusetts: Make It Yours”, “Make It in Massachusetts”, “The Spirit of Massachusetts is the Spirit of America”, and “It’s All Here”. Residents have mostly been dissatisfied with all of them.
  15. Boston Common is the oldest public park in the United States of America. Officially opening in 1634, the 50 acres of land is a common gathering place throughout the year.
  16. The chocolate chip cookie was invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield and her husband in 1930 in the Toll House Restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts.
  17. In the 17th century, 19 “witches” were taken to trial and hung in the town of Salem, Massachusetts.
  18. In 2001, a human embryo clone was created by ACT in Worcester, Massachusetts.
  19. Ever since Rhode Island removed “and Providence Plantations” from its official name, Massachusetts has the longest name of any U.S. state. It is also notoriously hard to spell.
  20. Massachusetts is one of the nation’s leading producers of cranberries.
  1. Massachusetts is the birthplace of the American Revolution, where the first resistance against British colonial rule emerged.
  2. Helen Magill White became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in the U.S. in 1877 from Boston University.
  3. In 1716, the nation’s first lighthouse was built in Boston Harbor: The Boston Light.
  4.  Boston is the capital city of Massachusetts. With just under 700,000 people, it is the largest city in the state and in New England, or the 24th largest in the country.

Do you have even more interesting facts about Massachusetts? Share them with us in the comments! 

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