First Church Built By Free Blacks

The African Meeting House on Joy Street in Boston was the first church built by free blacks.


First Railroad

The first horse drawn American railroad was built in Quincy to draw granite blocks from Quincy to Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown.


First Swimming School

Francis Leiber opened the first swim school in America July 23, 1827. Among the first to enroll was John Quincy Adams.


first telegraph

First American Telegraph

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


First vulcanized rubber

In Woburn, after years of failed experimentation, Charles Goodyear discovered that steam under pressure applied to a sulfur-and gum formula produced rubber as we know it today.


First Typewriter

The typewriter was invented by Charles Thurber in Worcester.


Howe's Sewing Machine

First Sewing Machine

The first sewing machine was made by Elias Howe in Boston.


Morton's first demonstration of anesthesia

First Use of Anesthesia

William T.G. Morton, a Boston dentist, first demonstrated the use of anesthesia in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, using a specially designed glass inhaler containing an ether-soaked sponge.


First Women's Rights Convention

The first National Women's Rights Convention convenes in Worcester.


World History: 1861-65 US Civil War

America's greatest internal conflict - 3 million fought and 600,000 died in the War Between the States before General Lee surrendered his Confederate Army to General Grant at the village of Appomattox Court House.


First Architect Training in America

Robert Ware, of MIT, began the first professional training program for architects. Prior to this, architects trained in Europe or learned through apprenticeship.


Mass History: First African-American Legislators

First African-American legislators in New England were elected to the General Court.


First Christmas Card

The first American Christmas card was printed by Louis Prang in Boston.


First Telephone

The first telephone was demonstrated by Alexander Graham Bell in Boston on March 10, 1876 as he talked to his assistant, Mr. Watson, in the next room.


First Woman to Earn a Ph.D.

Helen Magill White becomes the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in the U.S. (Boston University)


First Country Club

The Country Club in Brookline became the first country club in America dedicated to "outdoor pursuits".


James Naismith

First Basketball Game

James Naismith invented the game of basketball game in Springfield, MA. The original game had 13 rules and was played with a soccer ball and peach baskets hung 10 feet in the air.


First Fig Newton Cookies

The Kennedy Biscuit Works (later Nabisco) used a machine invented by James Henry Mitchell to mass- produce the first Fig Newton Cookies and named it for the town of Newton, MA.


First Automobile

The first successful gasoline-powered automobile was perfected by Charles and Frank Duryea in Springfield.


First Volleyball Game

The first volleyball game, originally called "mintonette", was played in Holyoke. The game was invented by William Morgan.


First Public Beach

Landscape Architect Charles Eliot developed Revere Beach as the first public beach in America.


First American Marathon

April 19, 1897 was the first Boston Marathon. The race was run from Boston to Ashland and the starting field was 15 runners. John J. MacDermott of New York emerged the winner.


First Subway

The first American subway system was opened in Boston.