Facts about Massachusetts for each letter of the alphabet
and links to the facts.
Massachusetts is one of the few states that have state ANIMALS. The State Cat is the Tabby Cat. The Angelcat Haven is a feline rescue and adoption organization. The State Dog is the Boston Terrier and there are hundreds of Dog Shows during the year. The State Horse is the Morgan Horse. Horseback riding is popular and there are many Horse Trails. The state has Horse Shows and rodeos. The New England Morgan Horse Show is held in NorthHampton. The state also has Horse Race Tracks.
Massachusetts has ARCHAEOLOGY and paleontology events throughout the year. Archaeology Week has become Archaeology Month. Areas excavated by the Massachusetts Archaeological Society include the Bull Brook Site and Wapanucket. The Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Cambridge is one of the oldest museums in the world devoted to anthropology. Petroglyphs (Rock Art) are found in several areas of the state including Deighton Rock State Park.
Some of the finest ART Museums and Art Centers in the country are located in Massachusetts including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner museums in Boston and the Worcester Art Museum. Several art museums are located at Universities and colleges including the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, and the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown. The Museum of Bad Art in Boston is the only museum in the world dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of bad art in all forms. The Museum of Fine Art in Springfield has 14 galleries of paintings, sculpture, and works on paper. The Norman Rockwell Museum is in Stockbridge. Truro Center for the Arts in Castle Hill provides instruction for children and adults.
Massachusetts has a wide variety of
Mass Audubon has been a leader of the bird conservation movement since 1896. There are many
Massachusetts has many
covered bridges and
Suspension Bridges. The
Boston University Bridge is one of the few places in the world where a boat can sail under a train driving under a car driving under an airplane.
Memorial Bridge is the largest single concrete arch span in the state.
Zakin Bunker Hill Bridge is the widest cable-stayed bridge in the world. A
Freetown is a historic site. The
Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls has been given that name because there is a garden of flowers that covers the bridge.
Neil R. Underwood Memorial Bridge is the longest wooden bridge in the state. Many bridges are on the
National Register of Historic Places in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts has Scenic
BYWAYS and a variety of
Mohawk Trail opened in 1914 as one of the first auto-touring roads in the country. The first 25-mile leg of the 100-mile
Mahican-Mohawk Trail roughly parallels the Mohawk Trail Scenic Byway.
Monument Mountain Trail is considered one of the best trails in the state. The
Metacomet-Monadnock Trail passes thru the
Mount Tom State Reservation. Massachusetts participates in
National Trails Day. The state has
Bike Paths and biking groups. Massachusetts has many
Massachusetts has many BRIDGES including covered bridges and Suspension Bridges. The Boston University Bridge is one of the few places in the world where a boat can sail under a train driving under a car driving under an airplane. Memorial Bridge is the largest single concrete arch span in the state. Zakin Bunker Hill Bridge is the widest cable-stayed bridge in the world. A culvert in Freetown is a historic site. The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls has been given that name because there is a garden of flowers that covers the bridge. Neil R. Underwood Memorial Bridge is the longest wooden bridge in the state. Many bridges are on the National Register of Historic Places in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts has Scenic BYWAYS and a variety of trails. The Mohawk Trail opened in 1914 as one of the first auto-touring roads in the country. The first 25-mile leg of the 100-mile Mahican-Mohawk Trail roughly parallels the Mohawk Trail Scenic Byway. Monument Mountain Trail is considered one of the best trails in the state. The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail passes thru the Mount Tom State Reservation. Massachusetts participates in National Trails Day. The state has Bike Paths and biking groups. Massachusetts has many Roadside Attractions.
Massachusetts is called a COMMONWEALTH because the term is used in its Constitution which is the oldest constitution still in use in the world. It was the 6th state to join the new independent union in 1788. It was the first state to write and adopt a constitution which served as a model for the United States Constitution.
Massachusetts has many forms of COMMUNICATION including newspapers, radio, television, internet, and telephone. Massachusetts has several telephone area codes. Boston is the home to the 1st newspaper in America, Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick, and the 2nd newspaper in America, Boston News-Letter. There are Internet Providers throughout the state and access to the internet is available in libraries and schools. Webcams are located throughout Massachusetts.
The 14 COUNTIES in Massachusetts are made up of 43 cities and 308 towns. The county of Middlesex has the largest population and Nantucket the smallest. The county of Worcester is the largest in area and Nantucket the smallest. Plymouth is the oldest town. The newest town is East Brookfield. Boston is the oldest city and Greenfield is the newest. Ipswich has more houses built before 1725 than any other town in the country. The term county is used for the level of government below the state government.
Bones of DINOSAURS have not been found in Massachusetts, but tracks have been found including those of the Anchisaurus and Theropod. By 1802, local fossils caught the attention of scientists when dinosaur footprints were discovered in the state. So many dinosaur tracks have been found in the state that Dinosaur Tracks is the . Fossilized footprints have been found in Holyoke wilderness reservation and Mt. Tom State Reservation. Franklin Park Zoo has a Dinosaur Kingdom exhibit. CLICK HERE for dinosaur coloring pages.
The road to compulsory EDUCATION began in Massachusetts. School attendance is compulsory from age 6 through 16. The 1st public school in the country was established by Puritan settlers in 1635. The Mather school in Dorchester was founded in 1639 and was the first free public school. It is the oldest public elementary school in North America. The Massachusetts Department of education oversees education in the state. Derby Academy is the oldest co-educational school in the country. Experience Corps Boston has volunteers who mentor elementary school students. Information about Schools in Massachusetts is provided by SchoolBug and Great Schools.
Massachusetts has special EVENTS throughout the year including Fairs and Festivals and Arts and Crafts Shows. There are also State and County Fairs. There are many festivals and special events on Cape Ann. There are special events just for kids. There is an Oyster Fest at Wellfleet, and a Lobsterfest at Rockport.
The Massachusetts State FLAG is white, bearing on both sides representation of the coat of arms. State law also prescribes a Naval and Maritime flag which bears a pine tree and a governor's flag which is similar to the state flag except it is triangular. There are also county and municipal flags. There are over 400 flags in the State House Hall of Flags.
The Food Timeline for Massachusetts dates back to the Massachusetts colony where thrifty New Englanders found dozens of uses for cod. The state has FOOD Fairs, Festivals, and Events. The state has more edible state symbols than any other state in the country. Baked Navy Bean is the State Bean and Cranberry is the State Berry. Cranberry Juice is the State Beverage, and there is a Cranberry Festival at Plymouth. Chocolate Chip Cookies were invented in Massachusetts and it is the State Cookie. Boston Cream Pie is the State Dessert. The State Muffin is Corn Muffin. The Fig Newton was named after Newton, Massachusetts. Ye Olde Pepper Companie is the oldest candy company in the country. Ye Olde Union Oyster House in Boston has been open since 1826 and is the oldest restaurant in the country. The building is listed as a National Historic Landmark. Bent's Cookie Factory has been in operation since 1801. The state has Nutrition Programs, and Culinary instruction is offered at many schools.
Massachusetts has had many FORTS. Most have been destroyed but remanants of some forts are still standing and some have been restored. Many are on the National Register of Historic Places. Fort Independence is the oldest continuously fortified site in the country and dates back to 1634. It is now an educational tourist and historic center. Fort Revere and Fort Sewall are now parks. Fort Warren is open during the summer. The Historical Association Museum at Fort Taber has a miniature model of the fort and other memorabilia.
At one time there were nearly a dozen GHOST TOWNS in Massachusetts. The towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were flooded to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir. East Brimfield has an Old Church. Moody Trails has old stone foundations. Needam offers tours of the town. Massachusetts has many haunted places.
The GLOBAL POSITION of Massachusetts is approximately 42 degrees north and 71 degrees west. Rutland is the geographic center. The topography of Massachusetts ranges from sea level to 4,500 ft. The highest elevation is Mount Greylock and the lowest is the Atlantic Ocean. Geocaching is a high-tech game using a Global Positioning System, and Massachusets has many geocaches. The coast around Cape Cod is jagged and indented; flatland yields to stony upland pastures near central region and gentle hill country in west; land in the west is rocky, sandy, and not fertile.
Massachusetts has many HISTORIC sites, some commemorating colonial days and the Revolutionary War. Favorite sites include Plimoth Plantation, Old North Church, and Saugus Iron Works. The are many historical homes including The Paul Revere House in Boston, the home of Emily Dickinson, and homes of several presidents. Hingham's Old Ship Church is the oldest wooden structure in the country. 200 Clarendon Street has been the tallest building in Boston for more than 40 years, and is also the tallest building in New England. The state has had many Natural Disasters. The Cocoanut Grove Fire one of the the deadliest nightclub fire in US history. The National Trust helps protect historic places in Massachusetts
The HISTORY of Massachusets dates back about 3,000 years ago. European explorers began roving the coast as early as the 11th century. In 1497 and 1498 John Cabot led the explorations upon which England based her original claim to North America. The Pilgrims were the first Europeans to settle in what is now Massachusetts. The opening shots of the conflict that resulted in the Revolutionary War were fired at Lexington and Concord, and at Bunker Hill. The Commonwealth played a significant part in the Civil War. Massachusetts participates in National History Day.
Massachusetts celebrates National Public HOLIDAYS. The modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly traced to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner of today has little resemblance to the original First Thanksgiving celebration. Patriot's Day is the 3rd Monday in April and is a legal holiday. Bunker Hill Day is observed on June 17 and commemorates a battle early in the American Revolutionary War.
Massachusetts has many species of INSECTS. The State Insect is the Ladybug. The state has a large variety of butterflies and moths. The Massachusetts Butterfly Club sponsors state-wide butterfly activities to promote conservation and interpretation. The Essex County Beekeepers' Association is said to have the largest Honey Show in the country.
Massachusetts has many ISLANDS. Several islands are on the U.S.Islands Directory because they have a ham radio. The islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard were formed by glaciers during the ice age. Boston Harbor Islands is a National Recreation Area. The state has 8 bays, 4 inlets, and an islet.
The JUDICIAL System is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is the highest court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It has the distinction of being the oldest continuously functioning appellate court in the Western Hemisphere.
Many aspects of life in Massachusetts focus on KIDS. The Secretary of the Commonwealth has a Kids'Zone. Go Camping America has a Kids Page with activities and games. The Children's Museum at Holyoke has hands-on exhibits for kids, and The Children's Museum in Boston has exhibits and games. Massachusetts has several Children's Hospitals. The U.S. Mint has a special Kids Page.
Massachusetts public, academic, and historic LIBRARIES. There are 6 Regional Library Systems. The first library in the colonies was established in 1638 when John Harvard donated his collection of books to Harvard College. The State Library, The John F. Kennedy Library, and The Bostonian Society Historic Research Library are in Boston. Other historical libraries include the Emily Williston Mememorial Library in easthampton, the Huntington Reference Library in Edgartown, the Jones Library in Amherst, the Phillips Library in Salem, and Westfield Anthenaeum. The Mapparium is a unique exhibit at the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston. The first English-language book published in the colonies was the Bay Psalm Book" and the Boston area is a leading book-publishing center. Moby-Dick is the official epic novel. The state celebrates National Poetry Month and the state poem is Blue Hills of Massachusetts".
Massachusetts has about 60 LIGHTHOUSES and about 47 are active. Boston Harbor Light is the 2nd oldest tower in the country and the oldest U.S. Light station. The lighthouse at Edgartown and Scituate Lighthouse are historic sites. The most important aspect of a lighthouse is the light that comes from the tower.
Massachusetts has 13 MOUNTAINS and 2 mountain ranges - Holyoke and Hoosac. Great Blue Hill Mountain is located within Blue Hills Reservation and has hiking trails. Greylock is the highest peak in Massachusetts.
A wide variety of MUSEUMS are located throughout Massachusetts. The Clara Barton National Historic Site preserves the history of the early Red Cross. There is a museum at the John F. Kennedy Library. For 50 years the Long Fellow House was home to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The Pilgrim Hall Museum is the oldest public museum in the United States in continuous operation, having opened in 1824.
NATIVE AMERICANS were the first inhabitants of Massachusetts and there are several tribes in the state. Squanto was an English-speaking Indian who helped the Pilgrims. The Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness has programs that serve the needs of Native Americans in the state.
Massachusetts is bordered on the east by the Atlantic OCEAN. Many Shipwrecks have happened off the coast of the state. The USGS provides information about why the ocean is Salty.The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries regulates the ocean and connecting waters of the state. Information about tides along the coast is provided by the state.
Massachusetts has a population of over 6 million PEOPLE. Many famous people have come from Massachusetts including 4 United States presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and George Herbert Walker Bush. The 1st vulcanized rubber was made by Charles Goodyear in 1839. Elias Howe of Boston invented the first sewing machine in 1845. Johnny Appleseed is the State Folk Hero. Deborah Samson is the State Heroine. Many famous sports figures have come from Massachusetts.
Take a Quiz about Massachusetts.
Massachusetts has a variety of REPTILES and amphibians including slamanders, frogs, toads, turtles, and snakes. The Copperhead and Timber Rattlesnake are poisonous. The state is a member of PARC - Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, and is part of the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program. The New England Herpetological Society educates members about reptiles and amphibians.
Massachusetts has RIVERS and a special River and Stream Continuity Project. Major Rivers are the Charles River, Connecticut River, and Merrimack River. The Charles River is the longest river wholly within Massachusetts. The state has whitewater paddling rivers and 2 wild and scenic rivers - the westfield and the sudbury, assabet and concord rivers. The Blackstone and Connecticut rivers are designated American Heritage Rivers. The American Rivers organization protects and restores river systems.
The Massachusetts State ROCK is Roxbury Puddingstone. The State Rock for building & monument is Granite. Dighton Rock is named the Explorer Rock of the State. The State Historical Rock is Plymouth Rock. In Balance Rock Park, in Pittsfield State Forest, a field of massive boulders left on a hillside by receding glaciers is crowned by Balance Rock, a tremendous rock balancing almost unbelievably upon a smaller rock protruding from the ground.
All SPORTS are played in Massachusetts including college, high school, league, and professional. The state has several major stadiums including DCU Center and Gillette Stadium, which is home field for the Patriots. Fenway Park is the smallest park in the majors. A game called "Mintonette" was created in Holyoke and was replaced with the familiar name "Volleyball". The 1st basketball game was played in Springfield, and The Basketball Hall of Fame is located there. The state has many motor race tracks. Other sports include swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, and winter sports. Golfing is a popular sport and the state has many public and private golf courses. The Massachusetts Golfing Association promotes and preserves amateur golf in the state. The Boston Marathon is a famous world-wide event held every April.
The Massachusetts State SEAL has remained essentially the same since 1780. It is circular and bears a representation of the arms of the Commonwealth encircled with the words "Sigillum Reipublicae Massachusetts". The arms include a crest (an arm holding a sword) and a ribbon with the State Motto.
Massachusetts has many forms of TRANSPORTATION. The has a number of divisions responsible for transportation in the state. The Federal Highway Administration provides information about highways in the state. Boston built the first subway system in the country. Massachusetts first began issuing drivers licenses and registration planes in 1903. The state has an Adopt-A-Highway Program. Massachusetts was the first state to issue license plates. To celebrates its 50th birthday, Matchbox cars issued a vehicle for each state. the vehicle for Massachusetts was the 1962 Volkswagen Beetle. The State TREE is the American Elm. It was chosen to honor George Washington who stood under an American Elm when he took command of the continental Army in Massachusetts. There are many State Forests in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Forest Alliance works for the conservation of forests.
Seven ships of the United States Navy have been named USS Massachusetts. The 1st USS Massachusetts (1791) was a topsail schooner and the first Revenue Marine cutter of the United States. The 2nd USS Massachusetts (1845) was a wooden steamer that saw action during the Mexican-American War. The 3rd USS Massachusetts (1860) was an iron screw steamer that saw action during the American Civil War. The never-launched Kalamazoo-class monitor Passaconaway was renamed first to Thunderer then to Massachusetts before being broken up in the ways. The 4th USS Massachusetts (BB-2) was a battleship that saw action in the Spanish American War. The 5th USS Massachusetts (BB-59) was a transport that served contemporaneously with BB-2 and also saw action in the Spanish-American War. The 6th was a battleship already under construction when she was canceled by the Washington Naval Treaty. The 7th USS Massachusetts (BB-59) was a battleship that saw action in World War II and is now part of Battleship Cove in Fall River has the largest collection of WWII Naval vessels in the world. The 1st nuclear-powered surface vessel, the USS Long Beach CG(N-9 was launched at Quincy in 1961.
Massachusetts does not have any VOLCANOES, but there is evidence that volcanoes were part of the development of the area.
The WEATHER in Massachusetts is diverse and changeable with warm summers and cold winters. The state often experiences severe storms. In spring nor'easters cause moderate to severe damage to trees and houses. This also brings flood. In summer severe thunderstorms are the biggest threat and result in large hail, very heavy rainfall, and on a rare occasion a tornado. Fall can be hit by minor to moderate hurricanes. Winter the gives the state blizzards resulting in many feet of snow. Sixteen of the top windiest cities are located in Massachusetts. Information in the state is provided by NOAA. Boston holds the title of the windiest city in the country. The National Weather Service provides information about Winter Storms. The state has a Global Warming Solution Act.
Massachusetts has a wide variety of WILDLIFE including deer, bears, foxes, squirrels, wolves, bats, moose, racoons, and elk. There is also a variety of sea life along the coast including walruses, seals, dolphins, and whales. The State Marine Mammal is the Right Whale. Massachusetts has 23 threatened and endangered species. The U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service has offices in the state. There are nearly a dozen wildlife refuges in Massachusetts. The Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program is responsible for the conservation and protection of hundreds of species that are not hunted, fished, trapped, or commercially harvested in the state. Wildlife Rehabilitors are located throughout the state.
Massachusetts has several Zoos. The Forest Park Zoo features exotic and indigenous animals and has educational programs. Lupa Zoo offers educational and family-oriented experiences. Franklin Park Zoo is home to over 200 species of animals and has 7 exhibits areas including a Dinosaur Kingdom area. Southwick Zoo is home to hundreds of animals and offers educational programs. Massachusetts also has several Petting Zoos. The Nantucket Aquarium has saltwater and freshwater tanks. The New England Aquarium in Boston has exhibits, special events, & field trips. The state has 3 Freshwater Aquarium societies. The Marine Science Center is a marine and educational facility of Northeastern University.