Boston Fun Facts - Did You Know?

Photo of the City of Boston

So, you think you’re wicked smart when it comes to Boston trivia, huh? As one of the oldest cities in the country, Beantown is packed with centuries’ worth of weird and surprising facts. Even if you’re a lifelong Bostonian and you’ve read up on your city history, there’s always something new to discover.

For example, you may know that Boston’s “Beantown” moniker refers to the regional dish of baked beans simmered with molasses that was popular with early settlers. But did you know that Boston is the site of history’s worst molasses-related disaster? It’s true! In 1919, two million gallons of molasses burst from a storage tank, sending hot syrup pouring through the North End in a 15-foot-high wave. The Boston Molasses Disaster or the Great Molasses Flood resulted in 21 deaths, many injuries and caused millions of dollars in damages in today’s money.

Here are some other crazy facts about Boston:

  1. Rock ‘n roll was banned here in 1958 after an alleged riot broke out at the Boston Arena (which is now thought to never have taken place).

  2. Christmas was banned for more than two decades in the 17th Century because the early settlers believed it to be a corrupted holiday.

  3. Boston Common, the country’s first public park and today a scene of serenity, once was the site of public hangings.

  4. The 2014-2015 winter season shattered all records with more than 110 inches of snow. What’s normal? Boston Logan Airport reports an average seasonal snowfall of 43.5 inches.

  5. In 1984, Massachusetts, including Boston, was the first state in the nation to ban happy hours by outlawing bars and restaurants that offered alcoholic drink deals.

  6. The Red Sox have patented the color “Fenway Green,” the shade that graces the iconic Fenway Park.

  7. Margaret Jones was the first person hanged in America for the crime of being a witch in 1648, accused of preparing herbal remedies.

  8. It’s claimed that the Boston University Bridge is the only place on Earth where a boat can sail under a train going under a vehicle driving under an airplane.

  9. 100,000 daffodils were planted along the Boston Marathon route after the 2013 bombings to serve as an inspiration to runners nearing the finish line.

  10. The Ted Williams Tunnel that runs beneath Boston Harbor is the deepest in North America, running 90 feet underground.

  11. Bostonians get their weather reports from lights on top of the old John Hancock Tower. Solid blue lights mean a clear day. Flashing blue means clouds are present or on their way. Solid red indicates rain is coming and flashing red indicates snow. In the summer, flashing red means the Red Sox game has been rained out.

  12. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was the site of one of the largest art thefts in history, in which 13 paintings by artists including Rembrandt, Degas and Vermeer and worth about $100 million, were stolen in 1990. A $5 million reward has been offered for information that leads to the recovery of the stolen artwork.

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