Boston Cookbook

Boston Firsts

A city full of wonder, Boston has played an innovative and central role in American history for over 300 years. Our city has made significant advances in everything from science and engineering to culture and society.

1632

The first windmill is built on Copp’s Hill.

1632

The first public anti-smoking law is established.

1634

Boston Common becomes the first public park in America.

1635

Boston Latin School is established as the first public secondary school. It is still operating.

1672

The first U.S. mail route is opened between Boston and New York.

1704

The first regularly issued American newspaper The Boston News-Letter is published.

1714

The Union Oyster House opens. It is the oldest American restaurant still operating under the same name.

1716

The first American lighthouse is built in Boston Harbor.

1765

The first chocolate factory Walter Baker Company is opened in Dorchester.

1780

The first State Constitution is created.

1784

The Bell in Hand Tavern opens. It is now known as the oldest pub in the U.S.

1806

The first African-American meeting house is constructed. It is the country’s oldest existing black church.

1827

Francis Leiber opens the first swimming school and pool in America. Among the first students to enroll is John Quincy Adams.

1829

The first school for the blind is established as Perkins Institute.

1835

The first public school for African-American children, the Abiel Smith School, is opened.

1837

Samuel Morse invents the electric telegraph based on Morse Code, a simple pattern of dots and dashes.

1838

Boston becomes the first city to establish its own police department.

1848

The Boston Public Library becomes the first publicly supported free municipal library in the world.

1865

Robert Ware of M.I.T. begins the first professional training program for architects. Prior to this, architects trained in Europe or learned through apprenticeship 

1875

The first American Christmas card is printed by Louis Prang.

1876

The first telephone is demonstrated by Alexander Graham Bell in Boston. 

1877

Helen Magill White graduates from Boston University and becomes the first woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D.

1879

Mary Baker Eddy founds the Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston.

1881

Boston YMCA staffer Robert J. Roberts coins the term “body building” and develops exercise classes that anticipate today’s modern fitness workouts.  

1896

Fannie Farmer publishes “The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book” – the first cookbook in America. Her cookbook provides scientific explanations of the chemical processes that occur in food during cooking and also helps to standardize the system of measurements.

1897

The Boston subway opens as the first underground metro in North America. Today it is affectionately known as the "T” and is run by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

1897

The first Boston Marathon is run.

1903

The first modern World Series is played in Major League Baseball as the Boston Americans beat the Pittsburgh Pirates five games to three in a best of nine series. 

1928

MIT professor Vannevar Bush constructs a Differential Analyser, an analog computer that could solve differential equations with as many as 18 independent variables. This is one of the first advanced computing devices used for practial research.

1944

Harvard professor Howard Aiken develops the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator – the first automatic digital computer.