First of all, no native Bostonian ever calls it 'Beantown.'
Boston was founded in 1630 by voyagers from Europe who had first settled in Salem but decided that it was too touristy so they packed up and sailed south.
In was in defense of the rights of Boston that the entire 13 colonies broke with England and founded a nation. Boston is the most important city in any study of the American Revolution. It really was the Boston Revolution and the rest of the colonies backed us up.
The Boston Tea Party took place in December of 1773. The Boston Tea Party was also a famous nightclub on Landsdowne Street about 197 years later.
The British closed the Port of Boston in retaliation for the Boston Tea party. The entire population of Boston in the time of the Revolution could not have sold out today's Fenway Park. It's population of 30,000 made it a large town, although arguably a city by colonial standards, if so just barely. After hostilities broke out at Lexington and Concord, the colonies put together an army under George Washington to expell the bloodybacks from Boston. But as yet the 13 colonies had not declared for independence. When George Washington put cannon on Southie Heights in 1775, the British were forced to evacuate Boston. With the high ground The Continental Army could shell them at will at any moment he chose. General Howe, in command of the kidnapped city, agreed to not burn the place down if Washington would not fire on his ships as they packed up and left. Howe didn't know that the rebs had virtually no gunpowder for the threatening artillery. When the British evacuated Boston on March 17, 1775, Washington was so elated he bought each of his officers a spuckie.
Boston harbor was was an important naval base during the War of 1812.
During the years leading up to the Civil War, Boston was the unofficial headquarters for the national agitation against slavery. It was the heart and soul of the abolition movement.
In 1854 a Southern runaway slave-catcher came to Boston to claim the person of Anthony Burns. As the bounty hunter took him to the dock, a riot broke out amongs thousands of protesters. The slave-catcher barely made it to the ship with Tony in tow. In 1872 a Great Fire swept Boston's financial district, destroying several blocks and taking 20 lives. The glow from the flames could be seen by sailors out at sea off the coast of Maine. The Boston Fire took place almost exactly a year after the Chicago Fire. The two events hurt the national economy and helped cause the Panic of 1873.
Boston's most famous crime is the spree of the Boston Starngler. He strangled a lot of women in their homes in the early 1960's. Now there's a lady who makes a living appearing on documentaries saying that the man convicted of the crimes, Albert De Salvo, didn't really do any of them. She's written a book, called "He Didn't Do It."
Boston was in the news in the mid-1970's when busing to integrate schools rubbed some people the wrong way. One of the big networks made a mini-series about it called Common Ground. Jane Curtain stars as the angry middle-aged white lady.
Over the decades Boston grew from the surrounded by sea-water peninsula on the map above, to a spread out city with a compact harbor and a thin river. This was done by landfill and Boston has been a pioneer in the field from the start. The Back Bay was once really a bay.
Boston 2006 has almost exactly 600,000 people. At the turn of the 1900 century Boston had over one million people.
Boston today is a very big city with no crime. The Big Dig continues to be big news as the entire city is under heavy construction and many things have gone wrong with the project. There's been a few mistakes in cost estimates. The original price-tag had been projected at 11 Billion Dollars. So far it has cost 2.7 trillion! The Rose Kennedy Greenway is making some exiting progress right at this moment. This is the cap of scenic park that is being placed over the new underground highway that runs through the heart of downtown.
Park Street Station was the first subway stop in the United States. A law was passed when it opened in 1898 that the temperature in Park Street Station must remain over 97 degrees even if air conditioning was invented 9 decades ago and the city spends millions on monuments. This law is still strictly enforced.
Today the mayor is Tommy Menino. His 14 years in office are second only to Kevin White. 15 out of the last 16 mayors have been Democrats. Boston has not been governed by a Republican since 930.
Here is a list of
20th Century Mayors of Boston
Thomas N. Hart - (I) 1900 to 1902 There was a Hart School named after him on East 5th Street in South Boston. They filmed the opening scene from the movie 'Charly' (Cliff Roberston as Charly)
Pat Collins (D) - 1902 to 1905 - DIO
Daniel Whelton (I) - 1905-1905 - Took over as mayor when Collins DIO
John F. Fitzgerald (D) - 1906 to 1908 - "Fitzy" - The Fitzgerald of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
George A. Hibbard - 1908 to 1910 (R)
John F. Fitzgerald - 1910 to 1914
James Michael Curley (D) - 1914 to 1918 -The War Mayor
Andrew J. Peters (D) - 1918 to 1922 - "Presided" over the famous Boston Police Strike of 1920.
James Michael Curley (D) - 1922-1926
Malcom Nichols (R) - 1926 to 1930 - Malcom in the middle of two Curly reigns.
James Michael Curly (D) 1930 to 1934
Frederick Mansfield (D) - 1934 to 1938
Maurice J. Tobin (D) - 1938-1945 - WWII mayor of today's Tobin Bridge fame.
John E. Kerrigan (D) - 1945 to 1946.
James Michael Curly (D) - 1946 to 1950 An amazing fourth comeback term, but marred by a jail sentence of five months in the middle of his term.
John B. Hynes (D) - 1947 - Hynes filled in for Curly while the elected mayor was breaking rocks.
John B. Hynes (D) - 1950 to 1960 - The Fifties mayor of Hynes Auditorium fame. Elected three times.
John F. Collins (D) - 1960 to 1968 - Ran for US Senate at the end of his mayoral term. I remember his campaign poem from the TV commerical. "For the nation's strength. For the nation's health. For the Common good. Of the Commonwealth."
Kevin H. White (D) - 1968-1984 Presided over the revival of downtown Boston. I remember when the downtown crossing had reached the stage of some boarded up stores and Fanuel Hall was a dreary area. By 1984 that had all changed for the better.
Raymond L. Flynn (D) - 1984 to 1993 - I know Ray well enough to say hello but so do a few hundred thousand others. We both went to Gate of Heaven High School in South Boston where he was a great basketball player and I wasn't. Flynn had a tryout with the Boston Celtics and almost made the NBA. Flynn resigned as mayor when Bill Clinton asked him to be the US Ambassador to the Vatican. What Gatey kid could say no to that?
Thomas M. Menino (D) - 1993 to 2007 - Menino took over as acting Mayor when Flynn went to Italy and has been elected four times since. I saw him walking by on the street once in downtown Boston. I waved and yelled "Tommy!" - He said 'Hey how are ya?" He's a great guy.
There was a short lived holiday in Boston called Massachusetts Day. It lasted from 1771 to 1774. It was a big ceremonious "celebration" of the anniversary of the Boston Massacre of 3.5.70.