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8 Surprising Facts about Boston

Do you think you know the significant historic moments in Beantown history? These might surprise you:

  1. The first subway in the United States was built in Boston. 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.

  2. A deadly wave of molasses once flooded the North End.The Great Molasses Flood occurred on January 15, 1919 in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. At about 12:30 in the afternoon a molasses tank 50 ft tall, 90 ft in diameter collapsed. Witnesses variously reported that as it collapsed they felt the ground shake and heard a roar, a long rumble similar to the passing of an elevated train, a tremendous crashing, and a deep growling and as the rivets shot out of the tank, a machine gun-like sound.

  3. Boston was home to the first chocolate factory in the United States. The Baker Chocolate Company is the oldest producer of chocolate in the United States. The company was established when a physician named Dr. James Baker met John Hannon on the banks of the Neponset River. Hannon was penniless but was a skilled chocolatier, a craft which he had learned in England and which was, until now, exclusive to Europe. With the help of Baker, Hannon was able to set up a business where he produced Hannon's Best Chocolate for 15 years.

  4. Greater Boston is home to the first public beach in the United States. The United States’ first public beach was Revere Beach, just 5 milesnorth of the city. Thea beach stretches 3 miles long.

  5. Christmas was once banned in Boston. The Puritans of New England then passed a series of laws making any observance of Christmas illegal, thus banning Christmas celebrations from 1659-1681. Offenders were punished with a hefty five shilling fine. Puritans believed it to be a corrupted holiday.

  6. The Boston University Bridge is one-of-a-kind. The Boston University Bridge’s claim to fame is that it’s the only place anywhere in the world where a boat can sail under a train going under a vehicle driving under an airplane.

  7. The first American lighthouse was built in the Boston harbor.Little Brewster Island is home to Boston Light, the oldest continually used light station in the U.S.—first lit on September 14th, 1716. It’s part of the Brewsters, a group of the outermost islands in the park. It’s also an active U.S. Coast Guard navigational aid facility which beams light 27 miles out into the Atlantic.

  8. Candlepin bowling was invented just outside of Boston! Candlepin bowling was developed in 1880 in Worcester, Massachusetts, by Justin White, a local bowling center owner.

What are your favorite fun facts about Boston?

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