Obscure New England State Symbols: Massachusetts

Each state has a myriad of official symbols that respresent their cultural heritage and individual history. These include a state flag, motto, song, and bird. But did you know that each region also has their own variety of obscure symbols such as a state treat, state fossil, and even a state dance?

Over the past two weeks we have covered Connecticut and Maine’s lesser known state symbols. This week we arrive at Massachusetts!


State Beverage: Cranberry Juice

With Massachusetts’ thriving cranberry industry, it’s no wonder that the state designated Cranberry juice its official state beverage in 1970. The cranberry is also Massachusetts’ official state berry.


State Children’s Book: Make Way For Ducklings

Image Credit: Flickr/theilr

If you grew up in Massachusetts, chances are your parents read you Make Way For Ducklings at bedtime. The iconic book, written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey, was first published in 1941 and became the official children’s book of Massachusetts in 2003.


State Dessert: Boston Cream Pie

Image Credit: Flickr/Kimberly Vardeman

New Englanders know that Boston cream pie is actually more of a cake. Its history dates back to the 19th century, but it was a civics class from Norton High School in 1996 that sponsored a bill to make it the official state dessert of Massachusetts.


State Fish: Cod

The cod fish has been a symbol of Massachusetts and a staple of its residents’ diet for over 200 years. Its importance to the state was recognized in 1974 when it became the official Massachusetts state fish.


State Folk Hero: Johnny Appleseed

Image Credit: Flickr/Steve Snodgrass

The legend of Johnny Appleseed was inspired by the life of John Chapman (1774 -1845), an American pioneer born in Leominster, Massachusetts. He is said to have wandered from New England to the Ohio River Valley scattering apple seeds and providing a delicious food source along the way. Although the legend is mostly fiction, “Johnny Appleseed” was designated the official folk hero of Massachusetts in 1996.


State Dog: Boston Terrier

The Boston terrier was the first “purebred” dog developed in America in 1869 by breeding an English bulldog and an English terrier. The friendly, dapper little pups were recognized as the state dog of Massachusetts in 1979.


State Groundhog: Ms. G

Image Credit: Facebook/Wellesley Townsman

Move over Punxsutawney Phil, Massachusetts has its own groundhog! Ms. G of the Massachusetts Audubon Society was designated the official state groundhog in 2014 in an effort to educate elementary school children on the importance of meteorology.


State Sport: Basketball

Did you know that the game of basketball was invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith, a Springfield, Massachusetts teacher? Thanks to his contribution, Massachusetts honored basketball as the official state sport on August 8th, 2006.

Stop by next week to learn all about New Hampshire’s most obscure state symbols!


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