Most Massachusetts residents are familiar with the state bird and the state tree. Did you know there’s a state muffin as well?
Massachusetts Nickname: Bay State
The Bay State or the Old Bay State is Massachusetts’s most common nickname. The Commonwealth is also occasionally referred to as the Old Colony State, the Puritan State, and the Baked Bean State.
Massachusetts State Folk Hero: Johnny Appleseed
Johnny Appleseed was designated Massachusetts’s official folk hero on August 2, 1996. Born John Chapman, Johnny Appleseed lived from approximately 1775 to 1845. An American pioneer and hero of folklore, he planted apple trees from New England to the Ohio River valley.
Massachusetts State Folk Song: "Massachusetts" by Arlo Guthrie
"Massachusetts" was adopted by the Legislature in July 1981 as the official folk song of the Commonwealth.
Massachusetts State Dog: Boston terrier
The Boston terrier was recognized in 1979 as the official dog of Massachusetts. The first American purebred, it is a cross between an English bulldog and an English terrier, and first appeared in 1869. The Boston terrier is also the mascot of Boston University’s athletic teams.
Massachusetts State Cat: Tabby
The tabby cat was made the official state cat in 1988, in response to the wishes of Massachusetts schoolchildren.
Massachusetts State Horse: Morgan
The Morgan horse is one of the earliest horse breeds in the United States. A strong breed, the Morgan horse has served as coach horses, harness racing horses, and cavalry horses during the American Civil War. It was adopted as the state horse in 1970.
Massachusetts State Bird: Black-Capped Chickadee
The black-capped chickadee was adopted as the state bird by the Massachusetts Legislature on March 21, 1941. Four to five inches in length, this bird’s tail accounts for nearly half its size. Its coloring is ashy-grey, with a brown back; the crown, nape, chin, and throat are black, and its cheeks are white.
Massachusetts State Insect: Ladybug
The idea to name the ladybug as the state insect originated in 1974 with a second-grade class in the town of Franklin. The most common ladybug in the state is the two-spotted lady beetle. Its head is black with pale yellow margins, and its wings are red with two black spots.
Massachusetts State Fish: Cod
With olive-gray coloring and lateral lines of light gray, the cod has remained a symbol of the Commonwealth's economic beginnings for more than 200 years. Native Americans and Pilgrims used the fish as food and fertilizer. In tribute to this history, a cod sculpture is on display in the House of Representatives.
Massachusetts State Fossil: Dinosaur Tracks
Fossilized footprints of the “beast-footed” 50-foot-long theropod, created more than 200 million years ago, were found inn Granby in the mid-19th century. They were made the official fossil in 1980.
Massachusetts State Flower: Mayflower
The mayflower, also known as the ground laurel or trailing arbutus, was adopted as the official flower of the Commonwealth by the General Court on May 1, 1918. A fragrant, pink or white five petal flower, it grows in the woods, preferring sandy or rocky soil under or near evergreens. It has been endangered since 1925.
Massachusetts State Muffin: Corn
The schoolchildren of Massachusetts petitioned for the corn muffin, a staple of New England cooking, to become the state muffin. The Legislature made it official in 1986.
Massachusetts State Beverage: Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice was named the beverage of the Commonwealth on May 4, 1970, in tribute to the great Massachusetts cranberry industry.
Massachusetts State Dessert: Boston Cream Pie
The Boston Cream Pie, invented in the 19th century, was chosen as the official state dessert on December 12, 1996; a civics class from Norton High School sponsored the bill. The pie beat out other candidates including the Toll House cookie (named for the Toll House Inn and restaurant in Whitman) and Indian pudding.
Massachusetts State Cookie: Chocolate Chip Cookie
The Chocolate Chip Cookie was designated the official cookie of the Commonwealth on July 9, 1997. A third grade class from Somerset proposed the bill to honor the cookie invented in 1930 at the Toll House Inn and restaurant in Whitman.
Massachusetts State Flag
The state flag consists of the Massachusetts coat of arms on a white background. The coat of arms is a blue shield with an Algonquin Native American on it.
Massachusetts State Seal
The state seal, adopted by Governor John Hancock and the Council on December 13, 1780, and made official by the General Court on June 4, 1885, bears the coat of arms of the Commonwealth encircled with the words, "Sigillum Reipublicae Massachusettensis,” which means, “The Seal of the Republic of Massachusetts."