How Much Do You Know About Boston?


By: Zoe Samuel

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Beantown may not be the biggest city in the USA (it is Bean "town" not Bean "city" after all) but it packs in a lot of American history. It was key in the Revolutionary War. Boston played a major part in the life of the American underworld. Some of the most intelligent people in the world live there, concentrating and expanding knowledge. And then there are the Boston Red Sox, one of the most storied sports franchises in the world.

Boston was around long before the USA existed, and it has managed to keep its local character despite all the change that has happened since its founding. Yes, it has public transportation, but it only allowed that once it was determined that the trains would not ruin the city's topography. Yes, it has office buildings, but the historical ones were protected. Boston is a combination of opposites, both aesthetic and intellectual.

This quiz will test your knowledge of several Bostonian subjects, from raw numbers, to historical figures, to local achievements, to trends that began in Boston and spread throughout the country and the world. Do you think you know Boston? It's time to take this quiz and find out! Let's go!

Which of the following places did not have a famous battle?

The Battles of Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill are well-documented examples of Revolutionary battles. Oak Square however, is just a place.


What was the population of Boston in the 2010 census?

In 2010, the census found 617,594 living in Boston, a 4.8% jump from 2000. We wonder what 2020 will have to show!


When was Boston settled?

The Massachusetts Bay Colony was settled in 1630, laying the foundations for Boston.


When was Paul Revere's ride?

Paul Revere's famous ride (which involved other, unsung riders as well) took place on April 18, 1775.


What type of ship famously made Boston's fortune after the American Revolution?

A clipper ship is a three-masted, square-sailed ship designed for speed. These were common in the late 1700s.


Who invented the motor that allowed trolleys and trains to climb and descend the hills of Boston?

Frank J. Sprague was an inventor who worked briefly for Edison, and then set out to build his own empire. After several false starts, a fully-electric public transport system got underway in Boston using a Sprague branded motor, which Edison called "the only electric motor." Edison liked it so much, he purchased the patent and slapped his name on it. The conquest of Boston by electric motor enabled electric trains to take hold the world over.


What was the first professional baseball team in Boston?

While sometimes called the Beaneaters and the Red Caps, the Boston Red Stockings was the name of the first professional baseball team in Boston. This is not to be confused with the Red Sox. The Stockings were an NL team, and they evolved into the Boston and later Atlanta Braves. The Red Sox were the upstart American League team, and a rival. The Red Stockings were previously the Cincinnati Red Stockings.


What institution is co-run by Harvard and MIT?

The Broad Institute is the epicenter of all bleeding edge genetic research. Having decoded the human genome, they sit at the forefront of research into human origins, and the science of DNA.


Which of the following bands is not from Boston?

Boston has produced a truly epic number of musicians, including some the best rock bands in history, and also Godsmack.


Which was a Boston first?

MA Financial Services launched the very first mutual fund in Boston, starting a trend that would see the financial instrument used the world over.


What university played a major role in the Manhattan Project?

MIT is and was the premiere science and engineering university in the US, and its professors, students and alumni played a major part in the development of the atomic bomb.


What was Ted Williams's career batting average?

Ted Williams was one of the greatest batters for all time, and he played for the Boston Red Sox. He was the last player to hit at least .400, and his career average was a fantastic .344.


How many people were said to be killed in the Boston Massacre by the time word reached New York?

Because it was the era before Facebook, or perhaps in spite of that fact, by the time news of the Boston Massacre reached New York, it was said that hundreds had been shot and killed in the "massacre".


How many people were actually killed in the Boston Massacre?

The Boston "Massacre" only involved five people being killed by the British soldiers. While tragic, it was hardly the slaughterhouse of mass killing rumored in New York. Of course, news has a way of being blown way out of proportion.


How many championships do the Patriots have?

Due to their incredible current run of championships, the New England Patriots have five championships, which given how hapless the team was 20 years ago, is very impressive.


How many championships do the Celtics have?

The Celtics have nearly always been a great basketball team, and are nearly always in contention. They have 17 championships, which is pretty good.


How many championships do the Red Sox have?

The Red Sox have always been a pretty good team, but fate has repeatedly conspired to thwart their bids for the World Series championship. From 1918 to 2004, the team did not win one championship, while their rivals in New York racked them up over and over, even before free agency. Now the Red Sox have a great team, and just need to win 19 years in a row to equal the record of their hated rivals, the Yankees.


Which team is the Boston hockey team?

The Boston Bruins are a major fixture in the sporting landscape of this competitive city and they have been around since 1924.


What is the term for the clubs for elite Harvard students in their senior year?

Final Clubs are clubs joined in the final year at Harvard, and they enable networking among the most elite of the most elite at the most elite university in the world.


What Presidential Library is in Boston?

JFK was a proud New Englander, and his Presidential Library is located in Boston. His family has deep roots in the region, and moved up the societal rungs from rum running to Ivy League elite.


Which of these Boston facts is true?

There is an MIT Museum where you can see photos and films of the MIT pranks, including putting a police car on top of a school dome. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was a Harvard student when he invented the website. Indeed, of all MLB teams, the Red Sox were the last all-white team.


What is the name of that company that makes those frightening robotic dogs that will one day rise up and enslave us all?

Boston Dynamics, which is currently being spun off by corporate parent Google, is at the forefront of physical robotics and mechanical AI development. They build quadrupedal and bipedal robots intended to pave the way for first responder and military rescue robots.


Why is Fenway Park called that?

Originally, Fenway Park was built as part of an elaborate real estate con, but the stadium, and the name stuck, despite it being built on the swampy, undesirable part of town.


What is the real name of the bar from Cheers?

Cheers, one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, and the source of many a spin-off, is based on the goings on and regulars at The Bull & Finch, a pub in Boston.


Which of the following movies does not take place in Boston?

While Mystic River takes place in Boston, Mystic Pizza takes place in Mystic, CT. It has a young actor in it though, who happens to be from Boston. That teenager's name is Matt Damon.


Which of the following TV shows does not take place in Boston?

While Being Human, Ally McBeal and Banacek all take place in Boston, Northern Exposure takes place in Anchorage, Alaska.


What terror befell Boston in 1755?

1755 saw the Cape Ann earthquake, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake that was felt for hundreds of miles, and resulted in an uptick of religious fervor in the city.


What is a Boston Brahmin?

The Boston Brahmins were the elite families of Boston, who after throwing off the class-shackles of British rule, established exactly the same hierarchy in America, naming suitable families, and respectable professions for said families.


How much damage did Boston sustain from the Great Fire of 1872?

That number is not adjusted for inflation. The financial center of Boston burned, causing about $60 million in damage in 1872 dollars.


Which hitting duo in Boston have been compared to Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth?

David Ortiz AKA Big Papi and Manny Ramirez formed one of the most fearsome hitting duos in baseball history, going on torrid hitting streaks and amassing both homers and walks.


What tragedy befell Boston nightlife in 1942?

The Cocoanut Grove fire was a fire at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in 1942. It resulted in the deaths of 492 people, and was one of the deadliest fires in US history, sitting behind the 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire in Chicago, and the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York.


What was the Big Dig?

The Central Artery/Tunnel Project or Big Dig as it came to be known was a massive infrastructure project, threading I-83 through the heart of the city by putting a tunnel beneath it. It took much longer than originally estimated, angered many, and on the day it opened a piece of the ceiling fell in, killing a driver passing under it.


What other project was the head of the Big Dig put in charge of?

Andrew Natsios, who finished the Big Dig project, was immediately put in charge of rebuilding the infrastructure of Iraq under the 2003 Provisional Government, by the Bush administration.


What was the population of Boston in 1722?

In 1722, 10,500 lived in Boston, and 14% of those died from a series of cholera outbreaks.


What is the name of the river that runs through Boston?

The river running through Boston is called The Charles River, named for King Charles I by John Smith (yes, that one) who explored the area.


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