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Massachusetts Fun Facts

Massachusetts Folk Hero
Johnny Appleseed was designated the official folk hero of the Commonwealth on August 2, 1996. Appleseed was born John Chapman and lived from 1775(?)-1845. An American pioneer and hero of folklore, his planting of apple trees from New England to the Ohio River valley earned him his more popular name.

Massachusetts State Dog
The Boston Terrier first purebred dog developed in America (1869); a cross between an English bulldog and an English terrier. It was recognized by the Legislature in 1979.

Massachusetts State Cat
The Tabby Cat was made the official state cat in 1988, in response to the wishes of the schoolchildren of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts State Horse
The Morgan Horse descended from a little bay stallion born in West Springfield, MA, in 1789. Named "Figure" by his owner, schoolteacher and singing master, Justin Morgan, he could outrun and outwork any horse in the area. Later, he became known by his master's name, "Justin Morgan". The sturdy breed bearing his name was adopted as the state horse in 1970.

Massachusetts State Bird
The Black-Capped Chickadee was adopted as the State Bird by the Massachusetts Legislature on March 21, 1941. At four to five inches in size, its tail accounts for nearly half its length. General coloring is ashy-grey, with a brownish back; the crown, nape, chin, and throat are black, and its cheeks white. Nesting in stumps, trees, or fence posts near the ground, it is a cheerful bird with a pleasing call: "Chick-adee-dee-dee"

Massachusetts State Insect
The Ladybug; also lady beetle, ladybird, ladyfly, etc. Most common in the state is the Two-Spotted Lady Beetle. Its head is black with pale yellowish margins; elytra reddish, with two black spots. Idea originated in 1974 with a second-grade class in the Town of Franklin.

Massachusetts State Fish
The Cod. A soft-finned fish, usually 10-20 lbs. With olive gray coloring and lateral lines of a paler shade of gray, the cod has remained a symbol of the Commonwealth's economic beginnings for over 200 years. Indians and Pilgrims used them as common food and fertilizer. A sculpture of a cod hangs in the House of Representatives as a tribute to this sea creature.

Massachusetts State Fossil
The Dinosaur Tracks in Massachusetts, which were made over 200 million years ago. In Granby, the prints of a theropod dinosaur fifty feet in length from head to tail (the first record of a theropod of such magnitude), were found. They were made the official fossil in 1980.

Massachusetts State Flower
The Mayflower also commonly 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, spring-blooming five petal flower, it grows in woods, preferring sandy or rocky soil, under or near evergreens. Unfortunately, since 1925 it has been on the endangered list.

Massachusetts State Muffin
The schoolchildren of Massachusetts petitioned for the Corn Muffin, a staple of New England cooking, and the Legislature made it official in 1986.

Massachusetts State Beverage
Cranberry Juice was named the beverage of the Commonwealth on May 4, 1970. This was a tribute to the great Massachusetts cranberry industry.

Massachusetts State Dessert
The Boston Cream Pie, created 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 and Indian pudding.

Massachusetts State 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 Restaurant in Whitman.