En español | Like so many other destinations, the unusual and offbeat facts about Boston are a huge part of its charm and excitement. Here are a few.
See also: Boston must-see sites. »
The Sacred Cod
The Massachusetts State House, House of Representatives
This gilded wooden cod was made as a memorial to the importance of the fishing industry in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. It was first hung in the Old State House in 1784. When it was transferred to the new State House in 1895, it was carried wrapped in an American flag. Today the cod casts its doleful gaze north when the Democrats have control of the House and south when the Republicans are in power.
The Bell in Hand Tavern
45-55 Union St.
Jimmy Wilson opened this tavern in 1795 after retiring as Boston’s town crier. The tavern was located on Boston’s waterfront in colonial days and since many of his patrons were illiterate sailors, he hung a distinctive sign depicting a hand holding a bell above the entrance.
Granary Burial Ground
Elizabeth Goose, who died in 1757, raised 10 of her own children and then another 10 children of her second husband. Later she moved in with her daughter and 14 grandchildren. Over the years she spent some time reading nursery rhymes to these children by the fire. Legend has it that her son-in-law, who was a printer, published a book of these rhymes titled Songs for the Nursery or Mother Goose’s Melodies, although no copies have ever been found.
Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
Paul Revere was not the only rider warning of the British soldiers approach the night of April 18, 1775. The other riders included William Dawes and Samuel Prescott. Also they would not have called out “The British are coming!” because they were also British subjects. Rather they would have called out “The Regulars are coming!” or “The lobsterbacks (redcoats) are coming!”
Breeds Hill, Charlestown
On the night of June 16, 1775, the patriots erected a small fortification atop Breeds Hill, not Bunker Hill (a last minute change of plans caused confusion about the battle’s name). On June 17, 1825, the cornerstone of the obelisk to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first battle of the Revolutionary War was laid by General Lafayette. If you look off in the distance, you’ll see the steeple of St. Francis de Sales Church atop a hill … that’s Bunker Hill.
The Warren Tavern
Pleasant Street, Charlestown
The Warren Tavern is one of Charlestown’s most historic buildings, erected in 1780. It is named after General Joseph Warren, who died in the Battle of Bunker Hill. President George Washington stopped here for “refreshments” in 1789. The tavern is still open for food and refreshments today.