7 Fun Facts About Boston
When you walk the streets of Boston, you cannot miss the historical importance of this founding American city. Its history is America’s history, and while everyone knows about some of the most pivotal moments (like the Boston Tea Party and the battlefields of Lexington and Concord) there is a ton to explore! Check out 7 fun facts about Boston!
- Boston was the first U.S city to have a subway system. In 1897, at 6 a.m, over 100 people got on the first subway train built in the United States. Attempting to ease congestion, officials decided to mimic European cities such as London and create an underground rail system. Today, the “T” transports over 1.3 million riders a day – that’s 1.3 million people who don’t have to drive their “cah”.
- Want to know the day’s weather? Check the top of the John Hancock skyscraper! The Berkley Building has a color-coded weather beacon on its roof. A poem of Boston lore deciphers the light patterns:
Steady blue, clear view.
Flashing blue, clouds due.
Steady red, rain ahead.
Flashing red, snow instead.
And if it’s flashing red during baseball season, don’t go to see the Red Sox – that means the games been rained out!
- Boston gets its name from an English town! In the early 1600’s, The Reverend John Cotton became displeased with his home of Boston, UK, and urged citizens to follow him to America to start a new life. Over the next few years, ten percent of the town would emigrate to the U.S – and they named their new city Boston in honor of the life they left behind!
- Boston Common is the oldest public park in the U.S. Founded in 1634, this greenspace has seen its fair share of historical events over the years. Colonial militia have prepared for the Revolution, British Redcoats have used it for an encampment, and our founding fathers have celebrated our nation’s independence here.
- At one point, Christmas was banned! The Puritans who sailed to America brought many traditions with them from England, including a hatred for Christmas! Calling it “Foolstide” (a truly inventive pun, don’t you think?), they kept their shops and schools open on Christmas day. Not until 1856 would Christmas finally become a public holiday in Massachusetts.
- Why “Beantown”? Boston baked beans of course! Since the city’s creation, a Boston favorite food has been beans baked in molasses. Sailors and merchants passing through enjoyed this local dish so much that they called the city “Beantown.” It even inspired a tourism slogan in the early 1900’s – “You Don’t Know Beans Until You Come to Boston.”
- Harvard, located in Boston, is America’s oldest university. Established in 1636, the university got its name from its first benefactor, John Harvard, who left his library and half his estate to the institution. Bonus fact: The statue of John Harvard in Harvard Yard isn’t even him! At the time of its creation, there were no representations of what John looked like, so a current student sat in instead.
Want to journey back in time to the colonial era? You can with our Boston programs!