“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Massachusetts Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on January 27, 2022

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Massachusetts ranks 26th among states and provinces with markers in this database. The United States of America is a state in the United States of America located in the American Northeast. It is also in the New England region. Massachusetts is some 11 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 6.9 million people. The state is divided into 14 counties and all of them have entries in this database. In Massachusetts we have discovered historical markers in 247 cities and towns lying in 288 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 1,775 historical markers in Massachusetts, by our count. We have cataloged 1,732 historical markers and 437 war memorials—each individually presented on 2,122 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 1.0% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 43 historical markers in Massachusetts that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

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The first Massachusetts marker in the database, Paterson / Egleston, was added September 15, 2006. It was photographed in Lenox in Berkshire County. The last one added was submitted on January 16, 2022, and titled Rev. John Lothrop. It is in Barnstable in Barnstable County and had been erected in 1939. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in Massachusetts was erected in 1799. It was this one: Battle of Lexington Monument, and one of our correspondents found it in Lexington in Middlesex County on April 15, 2009.

Massachusetts Historical Topics
533 • Colonial Era
304 • Settlements and Settlers
302 • Revolutionary War
277 • Industry and Commerce
212 • Waterways and Vessels
150 • World War II
147 • Churches and Religion
133 • Cemeteries and Burial Sites
128 • Military
108 • Civil War
    ... and others ...

Massachusettsans don’t want to forget their Colonial Era history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Massachusetts about Colonial Era—533 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Settlements and Settlers with 304 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Colonial Era topic was Old Ship Church, added October 9, 2007. It had been erected in 1930 in Hingham in Plymouth County. The last one submitted also was submitted on January 16, 2022, and titled Rev. John Lothrop. It had been erected in 1939 in Barnstable in Barnstable County. The earliest marker erected with the Colonial Era topic that we have listed was erected in 1827. It is Josiah and Abiah Franklin, found in Boston in Suffolk County on May 23, 2009.

What is the most interesting historical marker in Massachusetts? What we know is that Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal is the most viewed entry in the database from Massachusetts since it was added in 2007. It is located in Fall River in Bristol County. This year so far, the most viewed Massachusettsan entry is located in Eastham in Barnstable County. It is The Outermost House.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Massachusetts county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Suffolk County, with 328 of them. It is followed by Middlesex County with 291 markers. The Boston area of Suffolk County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 304. In Middlesex County the area with the most markers, 57, is Lowell.

Historical Markers in These
Massachusetts Counties
328 • Suffolk County
291 • Middlesex County
288 • Barnstable County
275 • Essex County
236 • Worcester County
143 • Bristol County
135 • Berkshire County
129 • Plymouth County
100 • Hampden County
80 • Norfolk County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Massachusetts with the most markers we again find Boston at the top of the list with 305 markers in or near it. It is followed by Salem in Essex County with 72 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 02108 at the top of the list with 100 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 02108 is assigned to Boston MA.) It is followed by ZIP Code 01970 with 67 markers. (01970 is assigned to Salem MA.)

Historical Markers Near These
Massachusetts Cities and Towns
305 • Boston
72 • Salem
71 • Bourne
60 • Worcester
57 • Lowell
49 • Springfield
49 • Concord
46 • Plymouth
40 • New Bedford
35 • Chatham
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Suffolk County, the first marker added to the database from there, 54th Infantry - 55th Infantry - 5th Cavalry, was added December 23, 2007. in Hyde Park. The last one submitted was uploaded on November 20, 2021, and is titled General Joseph Hooker and was erected in 1903, in Boston. The earliest marker erected in Suffolk County that we have listed was erected in 1827. It was Josiah and Abiah Franklin, found in Boston on May 23, 2009.

Latest entry from Massachusetts. Click to go there
By Ralph Cahoon
Latest Entry from Massachusetts
“Rev. John Lothrop”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Salem. The first: Roger Conant, was added April 16, 2009. The last: Salem Rotary Club added on November 20, 2021. It had been erected in 2018. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1887: Very Reverend Theobald Mathew, added on November 19, 2021.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

There is no organization in charge of erecting official historical markers state-wide in Massachusetts today but the Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Commission was once responsible for erecting them. We have 165 of their markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from Massachusetts. Click to go there
By Brian Anderson, June 20, 2016
A Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Commission Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Massachusetts have been marked with history. Check out Franklin County, Hampshire County and Nantucket County. We've only found, respectively, 43, 19, and 11 historical markers there. Visiting one or more of these parts of Massachusetts might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

Jan. 27, 2022