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Portal:Massachusetts

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Massachusetts /ˌmæsəˈsɪts/, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is the 7th smallest, but the 14th most populous and the 3rd most densely populated of the 50 United States, and has the United States' sixth highest GDP per capita.

Massachusetts has played a significant historical, cultural, and commercial role in American history. Plymouth was the site of the colony founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims. Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Protestant First Great Awakening originated from the pulpit of Northampton, Massachusetts preacher Jonathan Edwards. In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution. In 1786, a populist revolt led directly to the Constitutional Convention. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the temperance, transcendentalist, and abolitionist movements. In the late 19th century, basketball and volleyball were invented in Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Originally dependent on fishing, agriculture, and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts' economy shifted from manufacturing to services. In the 21st century, Massachusetts is a leader in higher education, health care technology, high technology, and financial services.

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Selected article

A close up of the statue component of the fountain
The Burnside Fountain is a non-functioning drinking fountain at the southeast corner of Worcester Common in Worcester, Massachusetts. It consists of two parts, a pink granite basin, and a bronze statue of a young boy riding a sea turtle. The basin was designed by architect Henry Bacon, who later designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the figure was created by sculptor Charles Y. Harvey. Harvey committed suicide before finishing the sculpture, and Sherry Fry completed the bronze. The Burnside Fountain was commissioned in 1905 by the city of Worcester after Harriet F. Burnside bequeathed USD $5,000 to create a fountain to provide fresh water for people, horses and dogs, in the memory of her father, a prominent lawyer. The fountain was installed in 1912 in Central Square, then moved in 1969 to its current location on Worcester Common. In 1970 the statue was stolen, and was re-installed two years later. An attempted theft occurred in 2004.

The bronze is officially named Boy with a Turtle but is known to locals as Turtle Boy. Turtle Boy has become an unofficial mascot for Worcester, much in the same way the Manneken Pis is for Brussels. The Burnside Fountain's popularity is derived mostly from viewers' incorrect interpretation of the statue as being a bestial act between the boy and the turtle. Over its 100 year existence, it has been referenced in stories and songs, as well as having a music contest and a microbrew named after it.

For the last few decades the Burnside Fountain has been in disrepair. The Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog surveyed the fountain in September 1994 and listed its condition as "treatment urgent." With the one-hundredth anniversary of the Burnside Fountain coming in 2012, there has been renewed interest in restoring the fountain. Restoration estimates run between USD $40,000 to $60,000, which is more than the city is willing to spend.

Selected biography

Portrait of Samuel Adams by John Singleton Copley
Samuel Adams was a Massachusetts statesman, politician, writer, and political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Adams was instrumental in garnering the support of the colonies in rebellion against Great Britain, ultimately resulting in the American Revolution. He was also one of the key architects of the principles of American republicanism that shaped American political culture. Adams organized protests against the British, including the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and participated in the Continental Congress. He also advocated for the adoption of the Declaration of Independence at the Second Continental Congress. Following the American Revolution, Adams helped draft the Articles of Confederation. After the war ended, he ran for the House of Representatives in the 1st United States Congressional election, but was unsuccessful in his bid. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1789 and after John Hancock's death in 1793, Adams served as the acting governor, until he was elected governor in January of the following year. He served in that position until June 1797 when he decided to retire from politics.

Selected location

The Longfellow Bridge crossing over the Charles River, in the winter
The Charles River is an 80 mile (129 km) long river that flows in an overall northeasterly direction in eastern Massachusetts. From its source in Hopkinton, the river travels through 22 cities and towns until reaching the Atlantic Ocean at Boston. Thirty-three lakes and ponds and 35 communities are entirely or partially part of the Charles River drainage basin. Despite the river's length and relatively large drainage area (308 square miles; 798 km²), its source is only 26 miles (42 km) from its mouth, and the river drops only 350 feet (107 m) from source to sea.

Brandeis University, Harvard University, Boston University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are all located along the Charles River. Near its mouth, it forms the border between downtown Boston and Cambridge and Charlestown. The river is well known for its rowing, sculling, dragonboating, and sailing, both recreational and competitive. The Head of the Charles Regatta is held here every October, and in early June, the annual Hong Kong Boston Dragon boat Festival is held in Cambridge, near the Weeks Footbridge. For a number of years, the Charles River Speedway operated along part of the river.


Selected picture

Kennedy's Presidential Portrait
Credit: Aaron Shikler (1970)

Massachusetts native and former President John F. Kennedy's posthumous presidential portrait

State facts

Location of Massachusetts in the United States
Location of Massachusetts in the United States
Atlas showing the location of the major urban areas and roads in Massachusetts
Atlas of Massachusetts with Greater Boston highlighted

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A portion of the Granite Railway

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State symbols

Colors Blue, Green, and Cranberry
Motto Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem
Song All Hail to Massachusetts
Bird Black-capped Chickadee
Tree American Elm
Flower Mayflower
Bug Ladybug
Mineral Babingtonite
Fish Cod
Beverage Cranberry Juice
Fossil Dinosaur Tracks
Soil Paxton Soil

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