Hi Shasta, tell us a bit about yourself. Hi, my name is Shasta Gray, and this is my first year teaching at THINK Global School. I received my master's in teaching from the University of Alaska and have been teaching since 2012. I consider Alaska home, but I spent three years living and teaching in Thailand before joining TGS. I've always had an affinity for the great outdoors, and love...Read More
The spring of 2013 marks THINK Global School’s first North American term and we’re ecstatic to be doing so in the colonial city of Boston. Founded in 1630, Boston is one of North America’s most well-known cities due to its natural beauty and strong ties to academia. As our students get settled in, here are seven interesting facts about Massachusetts’ capital city:
Fact #1: Boston is home to America’s first public park
Established in 1634, the 48-acre Boston Common became the first public park in America. Rich in history, the nearly four hundred year old park served as a camp for British Soldiers during the American Revolutionary War, and also contains one of Boston’s oldest graveyards, the Central Burying Ground. The Boston Common (referring to it as “The Commons” is the sure mark of a tourist), also acts as the anchor of the Emerald Necklace, an 1,100 acre system of parks that continuously stretches throughout Boston and the neighboring city of Brookline. No one can make the claim that Boston isn’t green!
Fact #2: Over a third of Boston’s population are college students
In the early parts of the 20th century, Boston became known as the “Athens of America” due to its many educational facilities and large teaching and student population. In fact, the over 250,000 college students living within the Greater Boston Area account for 1/3rd of the total population. The nickname is largely still applicable as Boston is home to more than 100 colleges and universities, many of which are considered amongst the best in the world. Hopefully, some of our students will return here after their TGS graduation!
Fact #3: Christmas was once banned in Boston
Christianity is widely practiced in the United States, but did you know that, at one time, Christmas was banned in Boston? The banning dates back to the very early colonial days, when on May 11, 1659 a decree was passed putting an end to all Christmas-related celebrations. While largely celebrated in much of Europe, the holiday was considered by the pilgrims who had arrived by way of England a generation earlier to hold strong ties to paganism. The decree was overturned 22 years later, making it once again possible to exchange awful fruitcakes with friends and relatives.
Fact #4: Boston was the first American city to launch a subway
If you can stand the smell -and in the summer the stifling heat- subway cars provide an excellent method of getting around a metropolitan area. In 1897, Boston became the first city within the United States to launch a subway system, which has come to affectionally be known as the “T” by local residents. The Boston subway system follows the lead of European cities such as Glasgow, London and Budapest, where the tracks are all laid underground.
Fact #5: Fast food doesn’t fly here
Speaking of Subways, don’t expect to find many within Boston, or any types of fast food for that matter. Of the over 850 restaurants that serve cuisine to residents of the city and over ten million tourists that visit Boston every year, only 40 of them serve fast food. Variety is the spice of life, and Boston has restaurants suitable for every palette!
Fact #6: America’s first witch execution took place here, not in Salem
America’s history has a few notorious chapters, and one of its most famous periods revolves around the Salem witch trials that spawned hysteria between 1692 and 1693. Belief in the supernatural was rife during the 1600′s, and the lives of numerous men and women prematurely came to an end after allegations of witchcraft resulted in death sentences. It was actually in Boston, however, that the first “witch” was put to death. In 1648, a Puritan midwife by the name of Margaret Jones was hanged as a witch after being found guilty of preparing herbal remedies, which made her patients sicker.
Fact #7: The Green Monster’s paint is patented
Baseball is largely considered to be America’s pastime, and apart from the New York Yankees, no team is better known or beloved than the Boston Red Sox, and no stadium more famous than the Green Monster where they play. The Green Monster draws its nickname from the Fenway green Pantone paint that covers the 37 foot wall that sits to the left of home plate. Don’t make plans to decorate your living room Fenway Green, though, as the Boston Red Sox hold the patent!
Enjoy the facts?
Learn even more about Boston on Our Travels page.