The New England Patriots Just Went down in History, but Boston Is the Land of Many Impressive Historical Firsts.
A little something for you history buffs out there.
Did you hear? New England won their sixth Super Bowl and are now tied for the NFL record held by Pittsburgh. Ok, it’s getting old at this point, but I just had to rub it in a little, more.
After six you might think the novelty has worn off, but the feeling of winning never gets tired.
Coincidentally, Boston is home of the first football team: the Oneida Football Club, 1862. Many of the players are recognizable figures in Boston history.
Face it, they don’t call it Historical Boston for nothing, though I’ve heard some call it Hysterical Boston.
Boston has many firsts in the fields of not only sports, but medicine, education, finance, law, and retail. Hey, it’s where the country started, so it makes sense.
Here’s a list of some of Boston’s firsts.
1621-First Thanksgiving Feast, Plymouth, MA. Plymouth Rock, or part of it, is preserved, at Pilgrim Memorial State Park, Plymouth, MA. Seems the rock split in two when it was moved.
1632-First Windmill at Copp’s Hill, now a historical cemetery in the North End of Boston. It was used to grind grain. It is the second oldest burying ground in Boston.
1632 -First smoking ban: Mass. General Hospital (MGH — aka Man’s Greatest Hospital, LOL!) banned smoking in public and in 1635 outlawed the sale of tobacco. Unfortunately, both laws were repealed in 1638, though smoking in public is banned in Brookline.
1634- First public park: the Boston Common. It’s uses were primarily enjoyment, grazing cattle, and brace yourself, public hangings.
1635 -First public school in the United States: Boston Latin School. The original building still houses this public exam school. Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams and John Hancock are among the famous alumni. However, Franklin did not graduate from Boston Latin.
1636 -Harvard College, Cambridge, MA. It became Harvard University in 1639.
1639 -First Post Office. It was not the first official U.S. Post Office. The MA General Court named Fairbanks’ tavern as a post office for letters coming into or going out of the colony to overseas posts. And in 1673 Boston was half of the monthly mail run between New York and Boston. Though the route didn’t last long, Old Boston Post Road still has historical landmarks that you can visit.
1690-First paper money issued in the Mass. Bay Colony.
1704 -First newspaper, The Boston News-Letter. The first edition was printed by Bartholomew Green and was only two pages long.
1765- First chocolate factory, Baker’s Chocolate. It is now Kraft Foods. No, James L. Kraft, owner and Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, are not related. And there’s no Charlie in this chocolate factory.
1806 -First market for ice. Boston entrepreneur Frederic Tudor, known as Boston’s “Ice King,” founded the Tudor Ice Company and began packaging and shipping ice around the world.
1829 -First school for the blind, Perkins. Still in existence. It was originally named the New England Asylum for the Blind.
1831-First anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator, by William Lloyd Garrison and Isaac Knapp. It appealed to the moral conscience of its readers and later became a woman’s rights newspaper. It’s motto: “Our country is the world-our countrymen are mankind.”
1838 -City of Boston established the first America police force in the United States followed by New York City in 1845 and Chicago in 1851.
1846 -First use of anesthesia (ether) at Mass. General Hospital. The original ether dome is still in existence and is used for grand rounds.
1852 -First Municipal Electric Fire Alarm System. It used call boxes with automatic signaling to give the location of the fire.
1854 -First Public Library, Boston Public Library. The original building still sits at its Copley Square location. There are also several branches throughout the city.
1859 -First public garden: Boston Public Garden. It’s gorgeous and you can ride the Swan boats in the duck pond.
1863-First African-American regiment. 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Union Army. Frederick Douglass’ two sons were among the first to enlist.
1897 -First subway. And after riding it every day, I think they’re using some of the same cars.
1876 -First Telephone by Alexander Graham Bell.
1909-First disposable razor by Gillette. Coincidentally, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA is the home of the New England Patriots. Oh, did I forget to mention they won the Super Bowl?
1909-First automatic bargain basement, Filene’s Basement. The original closed in 2007 due to construction and never re-opened. The business officially closed in 2011.
1903- Home of the first World Series. Boston Americans won beating the Pittsburgh Pirates in a best-of-nine series.
1924-Boston Bruins were the first American team to join the newly founded National Hockey League. The Chicago Blackhawks were the second in 1926.
1924-Mass. Investors Trust created the mutual find. MITTX Fund.
1954-First kidney transplant at Peter Bent Brigham, now Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
2004-First same-sex marriage at Cambridge City Hall.
2008-full face transplant at Brigham and Women’s Burn Center.
This is by no means all of Boston’s firsts, but it is among its most notable. Being the first and being number one don’t always go hand-in-hand, but sometimes experience plays off.
And maybe that’s why part of Boston’s rich history is its sports teams, which is where we started.
Thanks for reading.
Come visit us sometime.