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

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on February 21, 2020

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Massachusetts ranks 27th among states and provinces with markers in this database. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts 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 230 cities and towns lying in 261 different ZIP Codes.

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How many historical markers are there in Massachusetts? There are least 1,404 of them, by our count. We have cataloged 1,367 historical markers and 245 war memorialsóeach individually presented on 1,584 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 1.1% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 37 historical markers in Massachusetts that we donít 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.

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 February 1, 2020, and titled The Oldest House in Uxbridge. It is in Uxbridge in Worcester County and had been erected in 1925. 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 Categories
449 • Colonial Era
273 • Revolutionary War
253 • Settlements and Settlers
185 • Industry and Commerce
135 • Patriots and Patriotism
128 • Waterways and Vessels
114 • Notable Buildings
105 • Man-Made Features
102 • World War II
100 • Cemeteries and Burial Sites
    ... and more ...

Massachusettsans donít want to forget their Colonial Era history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Massachusetts about Colonial Eraó449 of themóthan about any other historical category. It is followed by the Revolutionary War with 273 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Colonial Era category 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 February 1, 2020, and titled The Oldest House in Uxbridge. It had been erected in 1925 in Uxbridge in Worcester County. The earliest marker erected with the Colonial Era category that we have listed was erected in 1827. It was Josiah and Abiah Franklin, found in Boston in Suffolk County on May 23, 2009.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Massachusetts county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Middlesex County, with 271 of them. It is followed by Essex County with 229 markers. The Lowell area of Middlesex County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 57. In Essex County the area with the most markers, 43, is Salem.

Historical Markers in These
Massachusetts Counties
271 • Middlesex County
229 • Essex County
216 • Suffolk County
178 • Worcester County
125 • Barnstable County
123 • Bristol County
118 • Berkshire County
105 • Plymouth County
79 • Norfolk County
78 • Hampden County
    ... and more ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Massachusetts with the most markers we find Boston in Suffolk County at the top of the list with 166 markers in or near it. And Lowell shows up again in next place, with 57 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers itís 02108 at the top of the list with 63 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 02108 is assigned to Boston MA.) It is followed by ZIP Code 02129 with 52 markers. (02129 is assigned to Charlestown MA including the Boston delivery area.)

Historical Markers Near These
Massachusetts Cities and Towns
166 • Boston
57 • Lowell
48 • Concord
44 • Plymouth
43 • Salem
40 • New Bedford
33 • Gloucester
31 • Quincy
29 • Sturbridge
28 • Charlestown
    ... and more ...

Getting back to Middlesex County, the first marker added to the database from there, Central Street, was added July 11, 2007. in Lowell. The last one submitted was uploaded on January 9, 2020, and is titled Haynes Garrison House and was erected in 1930, in Sudbury. The earliest marker erected in Middlesex County that we have listed was erected in 1799. It was Battle of Lexington Monument, found in Lexington on April 15, 2009.

Latest entry from Massachusetts. Click to go there
By Stephen St. Denis, February 1, 2020
Latest Entry from Massachusetts
“The Oldest House in Uxbridge”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Boston. The first: Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, was added December 23, 2007. It had been erected in 1897. The last: D.L. Moody added on January 31, 2019. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1827: Josiah and Abiah Franklin, added on May 23, 2009.

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 163 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

Youíll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Massachusetts have been marked with history. Check out Hampshire County, Dukes County and Nantucket County. We've only found, respectively, 15, 4, and 1 historical markers there. Visiting one or more of these parts of Massachusetts might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe youíll discover more historical markers while youíre there. If you do, perhaps youíll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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