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Crazy Laws in the Cities of Massachusetts and Fun Facts Part Two
Did you read about the crazy state laws in Massachusetts – Part One? The crazy law that it’s okay for children to smoke? But it is not okay to have gorillas in the back seat of your car? The banning of Quakers … and witches?
Then get ready to laugh at 22 more of the craziest laws in the cities of Massachusetts and wondrous, illustrious fun facts.
Crazy Laws in the Cities of Massachusetts
• In Boston – Anyone may let their cows and sheep graze in the public gardens or commons at any time except Sundays.
It’s Sunday! Little Boy Blue, come give your horn a peep. The cows are on the commons and so are the sheep.
• No one may cross the Boston Common without carrying a shotgun in case of bears.
Just be careful not to shoot any cows or sheep!
• It is illegal to eat peanuts in church.
Bring your rifle instead. All men must carry a rifle to church on Sunday. (See ‘Massachusetts State Laws Part One’)
• Duels to the death permitted on the common on Sundays provided that the Governor is present.
Oh, well, that would make it all right then!
• Women may not wear heels over 3 inches in length while on the common.
Jimmy Choo is very unhappy about this one.
• No one may take a bath without a prescription.
• An old law prohibits the taking of baths on Sunday.
• No more than two baths may be taken within the confines of the city.
A little clarification is needed for these three crazy laws.
Who gives you a prescription? Why not on Sunday? And regarding those two baths: Is that per day? Per week? Per month?
• It is illegal for any citizen to own more than three dogs.
Be grateful you do not live in Marlborough – it is illegal for any citizen there to own more than two dogs.
Old musician's joke:
"What's the difference between a fiddle and a violin?"
"You don't spill beer on a violin!"
• It is illegal to play the fiddle.
Someone in Boston must have heard me practicing.
• Two people may not kiss in front of a church.
Outside, try not to lapse. Inside, why not use the apse?
• In Burlington – you may not walk around with a ‘drink.’
If you walk around with a drink, the cops will put you in the clink.
• In Hingham – you may not have colored lights on your house if it can be seen from Main Street.
Perhaps too many houses sported red lights? Just sayin’.
• In Marlborough – it is illegal to buy, sell or possess a squirt gun.
Talk about strict gun control.
• It is illegal for any citizen to own more than two dogs.
Told you so. Move to Boston. You can own up to three dogs there.
• Silly string is illegal in the city limits.
Teach your string to shape up and be serious.
• One may not detonate a nuclear device in the city.
But there is no restriction on using the countryside.
• In Milford – peeping in the windows of automobiles is forbidden.
Watch TV – it’s safer.
• It is illegal to excavate any city street.
If you must dig a hole, they can use you at the cemetery.
• In Newton – all families must be given a hog from the town’s mayor.
I love barbecue pork spareribs. Where do I go to get my pig?
• In North Andover – an ordinance prohibits the use of space guns.
I’m a little worried about this law. Has someone (or something) there been using them?
• In Woburn – In bars, it is actually illegal to ‘walk around’ with a beer in your hand.
Don’t walk around with a beer. To the law, you must adhere.
Fun Facts and Illustrious Information about Massachusetts
• The Massachusetts State House, completed in 1798, is located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston.
The original wood dome leaked and was covered with copper in1802 by Paul Revere’s Revere Copper Company. It was gilded with gold leaf in 1874.
During World War II, the dome was painted black to prevent reflection during blackouts.
In 1997, the dome was re-gilded in 23K gold at a cost of $300,000.
• Horace Mann, born in Franklin, was an American politician and educational reformer who is known as ‘The Father of the Common School Movement.’
• Speaking of Franklin, over 30 communities in the colonies eventually renamed themselves to honor Benjamin Franklin but the Massachusetts town of Franklin was the first in 1778. It changed its name from Exeter.
• Franklin is home to the country's first public library, with its first books, 116 of them, donated by, Guess who? Benjamin Franklin.
Massachusetts is the home of many ‘firsts’ related to education:
• Harvard University, founded in 1636 in Cambridge is the oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S.
• The Mather school, the first public elementary school in America, was founded in Dorchester in 1639.
• Derby Academy in Hingham was founded in 1784 and is the oldest co-educational school in the U.S.
• Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, founded in 1837, is the oldest college for women.
• Massachusetts is home to 121 institutions of higher education.
• Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), both located in Cambridge, consistently rank among the world’s best universities.
• The MIT Whirlwind, the world’s first 16-bit computer, was invented in 1951 at M.I.T.
• Massachusetts was an early center of the Transcendentalist movement, which emphasized intuition, emotion, human individuality and a deeper connection with nature.
• Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was born in Boston but spent much of his later life in Concord, largely created the philosophy with his 1836 work, ‘Nature’.
• Emerson's friend, Henry David Thoreau, also involved in Transcendentalism, recorded his year spent alone in a small cabin at nearby Walden Pond in his 1854 work, ‘Walden or Life in the Woods.’
• Other famous authors and poets with Massachusetts connections include John Updike (lived in Ipswich), Emily Dickinson (born in Amherst), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (lived in Cambridge), E.E. Cummings (born in Cambridge), and Sylvia Plath (born in Boston).
Trailer for movie 'Ted 2'
• Motif Number 1, located on Bradley Wharf in Rockport, is a replica of a former fishing shack well known to students of art and art history as ‘the most often-painted building in America.’
• Norfolk County is the birthplace of four United States presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy and George H. W. Bush.
It is called the ‘County of Presidents.’
• Norfolk County is also the wealthiest county in Massachusetts with a median household income of $86,153.
• In 2014, Norfolk was the location for the comedy film, ‘Ted 2,’ starring Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane.
Didja know … Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg was born in Boston (June 5, 1971).
• Fig Newtons are a Nabisco trademarked version of the fig roll, a pastry filled with fig paste.
The first Fig Newton cookies were baked at the F. A. Kennedy Steam Bakery in 1891 and named after the city of Newton.
In 1991, Newton and Nabisco hosted a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Fig Newton. A 100-inch Fig Newton was served, and singer and guitarist, Juice Newton, performed.
• The United First Parish Church in Quincy is called the ‘Church of the Presidents’ because Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams attended the church together with their wives.
All four are buried beneath the church in a family crypt.
• James Michael Curley, 41st mayor of Boston, had automobile license plate number ‘576’ – the number of letters in James (5) Michael (7) Curley (6).
The mayor of Boston's official car still uses the same number on its plate.
• In 1841, Herman Melville joined the crew of the whaler, Acushnet. He later wrote about his travels at sea culminating in the whaling novel, ‘Moby Dick.’
• The Acushnet Company, founded in Acushnet in 1910, manufactures Titleist golf balls, golf equipment and bathing caps.
The name, ‘Acushnet,’ comes from the Wampanoag word, ‘Cushnea,’ meaning ‘peaceful resting place near water.’
• Revere Beach, about four miles north of Boston, was founded in 1895 as the first public beach in the U.S.
The annual New England Sand Sculpting Festival takes place at Revere Beach every July.
• Lake Chargoggagoggmanchaug-gagoggchaubunagungamaugg, also known as Webster Lake in Webster, has the longest geographic name in the U.S. and perhaps the longest lake name in the world.
The lake's name comes from an Algonquian language, and is said to mean, ‘Fishing Place at the Boundaries – Neutral Meeting Grounds.’
Which might be translated as: 'You fish on your side and I'll fish on mine.'
• Polar Beverages, based in Worcester, is the largest independent soft-drink bottler in the U.S. The company traces its roots back to 1882. Orson, the polar bear, is its mascot since 1902.
In 1995, Polar launched a TV commercial spoofing Coke. Orson is seen tossing a Coke can in the trash and drinking a Polar seltzer instead. A tagline reads: ‘Keep the Arctic Pure.’
Speaking of Coke cans, Coca-Cola claimed the ad was defamatory. A federal judge in Boston agreed and Polar pulled the ad. But the attention and publicity were priceless.
• Howard Deering Johnson opened the first Howard Johnson in1925 in Quincy. It featured fried clams, baked beans, chicken pot pies, frankfurters, soft drinks, and ice cream – 28 flavors.
Howard Johnson hotels and motels are now part of Wyndham Worldwide.
• William Rosenberg opened his first restaurant in 1948 as Open Kettle, in Quincy.
The name changed to Kettle Donuts in 1949 and the now corporate name, Dunkin' Donuts, was adopted in 1950.
• The Kennedy family has been prominent in Massachusetts politics. Ambassador and businessman Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., born in Brookline (1888-1969), led the way.
His sons included John F. Kennedy, born in Brookline (1917) who was a Senator and U.S. president before his assassination in 1963;
Robert F. Kennedy, born in Brookline (1925) who was a Senator, U.S. Attorney General and presidential candidate before his assassination in 1968;
Edward ‘Ted’ Kennedy, born in Boston (1932-2009) who was a Senator.
Rose Elizabeth Kennedy, their mother, had nine children and was born in Boston (1890-1995). Her father had served as Mayor of Boston.
• Hebert Candies in Shrewsbury introduced white chocolate to America in 1935.
Frederick E. Hebert purchased a Tudor stone mansion where candy is still manufactured in the ‘Candy Mansion.’
• Clarence Frank Birdseye II revolutionized American mealtime when he invented frozen foods in Gloucester in 1925.
In 1929, Birdseye sold his company and patents for $22 million and the company eventually became the Birds Eye Frozen Food Company.
• Those plastic pink flamingos that decorate so many American lawns were first manufactured in 1958 by Union Products in Leominster.
They were designed by Don Featherstone and modeled after photos he saw in ‘National Geographic.’
Speaking of Featherstone – he resided in Fitchburg where he kept 57 plastic flamingos on his front lawn.He and his wife, Nancy, dressed alike for over 35 years.
• The creation of the Cape Cod National Seashore in 1961, formerly private town and state-owned land, marked the first time the federal government purchased land for a park.
• Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher was born in Feeding Hills, a subsection of Agawam.
• Agawam's zip code of 01001 is the lowest number in the continental U.S.
• Six Flags New England Amusement Park is located in Agawam.
• Balance Rock State Park in Lanesborough is named for a giant triangular boulder that is balanced on its tip upon a much smaller stone below it.
How large is it? 30 feet long by 15 feet wide.
More Massachusett ‘Firsts’
• Loring Coes of Worcester invented the screw wrench commonly known as the Monkey wrench in 1841.
• Dr. William Thomas Green Morton, a dentist from Charlton, was the first to use ether as an anesthetic in 1846.
He later demonstrated its use at Mass General Hospital in Boston in an amphitheater known today as the ‘Ether Dome.’
• Esther Allen Howland of Worcester was the first person to mass-produce valentines in the U.S. in 1848.
She named her business the New England Valentine Company, and eventually grossed over $100,000 per year – a considerable sum for that time.
• Henry Drushel Perky was an attorney and inventor who developed a cereal machine for making what he called ‘little whole wheat mattresses.’
The product is now known all over the world as shredded wheat. He opened bakeries in Boston and Worcester in 1895 to sell the ‘cookless breakfast food.’
• Robert Goddard, inventor of the first liquid-fueled rocket, was born in Worcester and launched the first rocket fueled with liquid fuel from the neighboring town of Auburn on March 16, 1926.
• Harvey Ross Ball, born and raised in Worcester, was a commercial artist who designed that notable international icon, the Smiley face in 1963.
Harvey received $45 for his free-lance artistic creation but never applied for a trademark or copyright.
More Fun Facts
• Peregrine falcons, also known as duck hawks, utilize office towers in larger cities as nesting areas.
They are renowned for their speed which can reach 200 mph when diving for prey.
• In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage as a result of the ruling of the state's Supreme Judicial Court.
• The famous ‘Citgo’ sign in Kenmore Square, Boston contains five miles of neon tubing.
• Thirteen Fortune 500 companies are located in Massachusetts, the largest of which are the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group of Boston and MassMutual Financial Services of Springfield.
• The Boston Marathon is a popular event in the state drawing more than 30,000 runners and tens of thousands of spectators annually.
The marathon has been run every year since 1897 and celebrates Patriots’ Day, a legal holiday commemorating the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord.
• The New England Summer Nationals is a popular, annual, four-day-long auto show in Worcester which usually takes place on the July 4th holiday weekend.
You know you’re from Massachusetts if:
• You feel that the rest of the world needs to drive more like you.
• You believe using your turn signal is a sign of weakness.
• You know at least one guy named Sean, Pat, Whitey, Red, Bud or Seamus.
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, 'Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So.'