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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Boston

John Winthrop, a puritan lawyer from Suffolk in England, founded on September 7, 1630 a large settlement on a peninsula at the mouth of the River Charles in Massachusetts, which was named Boston.

He renamed it Boston after Boston, Lincolnshire, England, the origin of several prominent colonists. The name also derives from Saint Botolph who was the patron saint of travelers. 

Dating from 1634, Boston Common is the oldest city park in the United States.





Boston's first tavern started business on March 4, 1634. The pub was called The Three Mariners and it was owned by Samuel Cole.

The first public school in the United States, Boston Latin School, was founded in Boston on April 23, 1635. The School was specifically modeled after the Boston Grammar School in Lincolnshire, England, from where many of Boston's original settlers derived. The School's first class was in single figures, but it now has 2,400 pupils drawn from all parts of the City of Boston. 




The man who built the town stocks in Boston charged so much he was the first man punished in them.

Boston Shoemakers formed the first U.S. labor organization in 1648.

America's first waterworks, privately owned, were built in Boston in 1652.


Ann Austin and Mary Fisher were the first Quakers to arrive in America. The pair had sailed from Barbados, where the Quakers had established a center for missionary work. Their ship docked in Boston Harbor in the Massachusetts Bay colony on July 11, 1656.  As soon as Ann Austin and Mary Fisher set foot on American soil they were arrested and imprisoned. The pair were locked up for five weeks in a dark cell and ordered to be given no food or water. If it wasn't for Nicolas Upshall, the owner of the Red Lion on Boston’s North Street who bribed one of the guards to slip the women some nourishment, both surely would have died, Austin and Fisher were eventually deported back to England five weeks later.

In 1659 in Boston, Christmas was banned with any one found guilty of observing Christmas or any other religious holiday being made liable to pay a fine of five shillings. The ban lasted for over 20 years before being repealed.

By 1689, Boston had one pub for every 20 adult men.

The first regular newspaper in North America, The Boston News-Letter, was first published in Boston on April 24, 1704. It was heavily subsidized by the British government, with a limited circulation. During its early years, the News-Letter was filled primarily with news from London journals describing English politics and the details of European wars. 


The Boston News-Letter, first issue


The Franklins lived on Milk Street, Boston for the first six years of Benjamin Franklin's life, until 25 Jan 1712. The Franklins moved from their rented home on Milk Street and bought a house from Peter Sargeant at the south-west corner of Union and Hanover streets for £320 It was about five times as large as the Milk Street lot.

On March 17, 1737 the Charitable Irish Society of Boston held a St. Patrick's Day celebration, the first in America.


The "Great Fire" of Boston destroyed 349 buildings on March 20, 1760. Two hundred and twenty families were left homeless, and the total estimated losses of £53,334 hit especially hard a town that was already bearing the huge expense of the ongoing French and Indian War. 

Map of Boston in 1760, showing the extent of the Great Fire (dotted area)

The popularity of tea in North America suffered a blow after the British imposed a tax on the commodity. At Boston, in protest in 1773 fifty men disguised as Indians boarded a British vessel and emptied 342 tea chests into the harbour.  


The first house rats recorded in America appeared in Boston in 1775.

The Siege of Boston  was the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War. New England militiamen prevented the movement by land of the British Army garrisoned in what was then the peninsular town of Boston, It started on April 19, 1775 after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and ended on March 17, 1776  when British forces evacuated the city, after George Washington and Henry Knox placed artillery in positions overlooking Boston. 

An engraving depicting the British evacuation of Boston, March 17, 1776, at the end of the Siege of Boston

Lady pirate Rachel Wall was hanged on October 8, 1789 in Boston for highway robbery. She was the last woman to be hanged in Massachusetts. Wall may also have been the first American-born woman to become a pirate. 




Thousands of Bostonians watched the Battle of Bunker Hill take place. People in the Boston area sat on rooftops, in trees, on church steeples, and in the rigging of ships in the harbor to watch the American revolutionaries battle the British.

The first hotel with ensuite bathrooms (and towels) was the Tremont House in Boston, Massachusetts, which opened in 1829.

The first recorded use in print of “OK” (said to stand for “orl korrect” or for “Old kinderhook”- the nickname of President Martin Van Buren) was in Boston’s Morning Post in 1839

A brawny black lady called Maria Lee kept a lodging house in mid 19th century Boston and helped bundle arrested people into the police vehicle. It became known as a “Black Maria”.

The first medical school for women, The Boston Female Medical School (which later merged with the Boston University School of Medicine), opened on November 1, 1848.


The first YMCA in the US opened in Boston on December 29, 1851. It was founded by Captain Thomas Valentine Sullivan (1800–59), an American seaman and missionary. By 1853, the Boston YMCA had 1,500 members, most of whom were merchants and artisans.

Whilst working to improve the telegram in an upper room in Court Street, Boston, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. On June 12, 1875 his assistant Watson made a mistake, the incorrect contact of a clamping screw which was too tight changed what should have been an intermittent transmission into a continuous current. Bell at the other end of the wire heard the sound of the contacter dropping.


Emma Nutt became the world's first female telephone operator in Boston on September 1, 1878. She had been recruited by Alexander Graham Bell to the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company. A few hours after Emma started working, her sister, Stella Nutt, became the world's second female telephone operator, also making the pair the first two sister telephone operators in history.

This scene from "Bold Experiment – the Telephone Story", depicts Emma and Stella Nutt, 


The Boston Marathon was first run in 1897.

The Tremont Street Subway opened in Boston on September 1, 1897, the first underground rapid transit system in North America. 
It was originally built to get streetcar lines off the traffic-clogged streets,  and the tunnel served five closely spaced stations: Boylston, Park Street, Scollay Square, Adams Square, and Haymarket, with branches to the Public Garden Portal and Pleasant Street Incline south of Boylston.

Pleasant Street Incline junction

Boston Americans, representing the American League, defeated the National League champion Pittsburgh Pirates in eight games (best of nine) in 1904 to win the first modern baseball World Series.

Babe Ruth made his major-league debut with the Boston Red Sox at an annual rookie salary of $2,900. He remained with them until 1919, becoming one of the best pitchers of the time.


An estimated three million people attended a parade in Boston, celebrating the Boston Red Sox's 2004 World Series victory on October 30, 2004. The victory ended an 86-year drought of World Series championships and ended the era of the famous Curse of the Bambino for the Red Sox.

The first instant Polaroid cameras went on sale in Boston in 1948.


In Boston it is illegal to take a bath unless instructed to do so by a physician.

Boston has hidden poems on its sidewalks that are only visible when wet. When it rains, pedestrians are treated to the work of Langston Hughes, Elizabeth McKim and others.

The Boston University Bridge (on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston) 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.

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