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Official Symbols of Massachusetts
  Norman Rockwell was named the official ARTIST of Massachusetts on February 21, 2008.
Boston Baked Beans On June 23, 1993, the Legislature determined that the Navy Bean had been the original BEAN in the famous venerable Boston Baked Bean recipe.
Cranberries A fifth-grade class on the North Shore adopted the cause of making the Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) the official BERRY of the state. Their two years of lobbying, petitions, and hearings were finally rewarded on July 11, 1994.
  Cranberry Juice was named the state BEVERAGE on May 4, 1970, as a tribute to the great Massachusetts cranberry industry.
Chickadee The Black-Tipped Chickadee (Penthestes atricapillus) was adopted as the state BIRD was the Legislature on March 21, 1941.
  On August 11, 2011, Salem became the BIRTHPLACE OF THE NATIONAL GUARD for the Commonwealth.
  Taj Mahal (real name Henry St. Clair Fredericks) became the official state BLUES ARTIST in 2006. [official website]
  Granite was made the BUILDING & MONUMENT ROCK of the state on May 23, 1983. Granite from Quincy was used to build the Washington Monument.
Tabby Cat The Tabby was made the official state CAT on July 11, 1988, in response to the wishes of the schoolchildren of Massachusetts.
  The song The Road to Boston, whose composer is unknown, has been the official CEREMONIAL MARCH of the Commonwealth since November 13, 1985.
Theodore Seuss Geisel Massachusetts recognized Springfield-born Theodore Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) as the official state CHILDREN'S AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR in 2003.
  Make Way for Ducklings, a picture book written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey and first published in 1941, was designated the official CHILDREN'S BOOK of Massachusetts in 2003. The third grade class at the Dean S. Luce Elementary School in Canton were responsible for gaining sponsorship for the legislation.
  On December 18, 1990, the Legislature decided that the CITIZENRY of Massachusetts would be designated as Bay Staters.
  On February 21, 2005, Blue, Red, and Cranberry became the official COLORS of the Commonwealth.
  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.
Boston Creme Pie The Boston Creme 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 several other candidates, including the toll house cookie and Indian pudding.
Bay State Tartan On August 14, 2003, the Bay State Tartan became the official DISTRICT TARTAN of the Commonwealth.
Boston Terrier The state DOG is the Boston Terrier, the first purebred dog developed in America (1869). It was recognized by the Legislature on May 14, 1979.
Boston Creme Donut The Boston Creme was named the official state DONUT in 2003.
  Dighton Rock was made the official state EXPLORER ROCK on May 23, 1983.
Cod The state FISH is the Cod (Gadus morrhua). Indians and Pilgrims used cod as common food and as fertilizer. A sculpture of a cod hangs in the House of Representatives as a tribute to this useful aquatic creature, and it was named the official fish on May 2, 1974.
the flag of Massachusetts The FLAG is white, bearing on both sides a representation of the coat of arms. It was adopted in its final form on July 3, 1971; before that, the obverse side depicted a pine tree.
Mayflower The Mayflower (Epigaea regens) was adopted as the official state FLOWER by the General Court on May 1, 1918. The choice of floral emblem was put in the hands of school children across Massachusetts, who chose the mayflower over the water lily by a 2-to-1 margin.
  Square Dancing became the official FOLK DANCE on April 8, 1990.
  Johnny Appleseed was designated the official FOLK HERO of the Commonwealth on August 2, 1996.
  Massachusetts, words and music by Arlo Guthrie, was adopted as the FOLK SONG of the Commonwealth by the Legislature on July 6, 1981. [lyrics]
  The Dinosaur Tracks found in Granby were made the official state FOSSIL on May 23, 1980. The prints were made by a theropod dinosaur over 200 million years ago.
Wild Turkey The Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), which, according to tradition, was eaten at the first Thanksgiving, was designated the state GAME BIRD on December 23, 1991.
Rhodonite Rhodonite is the most beautiful gem material found in the state. It varies in hue from a light pink to a deep rose or reddish pink and is associated with black manganese. It was adopted as the state GEM in 1979.
Rolling Rock On August 4, 2008, Rolling Rock, located in the city of Fall River, became the official GLACIAL ROCK of the Commonwealth.
  The Great State of Massachusetts, words by George A. Wells, music by J. Earl Bley, was designated the state GLEE CLUB SONG on November 24, 1997.
  On July 31, 2014, Ms. G, who resides at Mass Audubon Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, was named the official GROUNDHOG of Massachusetts.[official website]
  The official state HEROINE is Deborah Samson, who fought in the Revolutionary War under the name of Robert Shurtleff. Her masquerade remained undiscovered until she was wounded in battle. The Legislature recognized her heroism on July 22, 1983.
Plymouth Rock Although the Pilgrims did not actually land on Plymouth Rock, its historical significance led the Legislature to commemorate it as the state HISTORICAL ROCK on May 23, 1983.
Two-Spotted Lady Beetle The state INSECT is the Ladybug. The most common in the state is the two-spotted lady beetle (Adalia bipunctata). The idea originated with a second-grade class in the town of Franklin, and was made official on April 17, 1974.
Morgan Horse The Morgan was designated as the state HORSE on May 14, 1970. The breed is descended from a single bay born in West Springfield in 1789, and was named for the original breeder, Justin Morgan.
  Benjamin Franklin was named the official INVENTOR of Massachusetts on November 16, 2006.
Korean War Memorial Located in the Shipyard Park of the Charlestown Navy Yard, the State KOREAN WAR MEMORIAL was approved on April 7, 2000.
Right Whale The Right Whale (Eubabalena glacialis) was so called because the flourishing whale industry in Massachusetts found the cetacean the "right" whale to hunt, especially before 1750. The Legislature designated it as the state MARINE MAMMAL in March 1980.
MIA/POW Memorial The state MIA/POW MEMORIAL is located in the town of Bourne at the Massachusetts National Cemetery and was approved on July 3, 2002, for the Commonwealth.
Babingtonite The finest quality Babingtonite in America is found in Massachusetts. In fact, this state is one of the few locations in the world where this usually jet black material with a brilliant submetallic luster is found. The Legislature designated it as the state MINERAL on April 24, 1971.
  The official state MOTTO is "Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem," which means "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty." The motto is the second of two lines written about 1659 by Algernon Sydney, an English soldier and politician, in the Book of Mottoes in the King's Library in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was adopted in 1775 by the Provincial Congress.
Corn Muffin The schoolchildren of Massachusetts petitioned for the Corn Muffin, a staple of New England cooking, to be the official state MUFFIN, and the Legislature made it official on May 27, 1986.
  On November 22, 2000, the words and music of Ode to Massachusetts by Joseph Falzone was approved as the official ODE of the Commonwealth. [lyrics]
  Massachusetts (Because of You Our Land is Free), words and music by Bernard Davidson, was made the official PATRIOTIC SONG on October 23, 1989.
Orange Peace Statue In recognition of veterans who served in WWI, the Orange Peace Statue, in Orange, was designated the official PEACE STATUE of the Commonwealth as of February 25, 2000.
  On September 24, 1981, the General Court designated "Blue Hills of Massachusetts" by Katherine E. Mullen of Barre as the official state POEM. [poem]
  On October 1, 1998, Say Hello to Someone from Massachusetts, by Lenny Gomulka, was approved as the official POLKA of the Commonwealth. [lyrics]
  On July 31, 2014, Volleyball was named the official RECREATIONAL AND TEAM SPORT of Massachusetts.
Garter Snake The Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) was designated as the official REPTILE of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on January 3, 2007.
Roxbury Puddingstone The Roxbury Puddingstone became the state ROCK on May 23, 1983.
State Seal The state SEAL, as adopted by Governor John Hancock and the Council on December 13, 1870, and made official by the General Court on June 4, 1885, bears a representation of the arms of the Commonwealth encircled within the words "Sigillum Reipublicae Massachusettensis" (Seal of the Republic of Massachusetts). The final form of the seal was determined by a statewide contest.

The arms consist of "a shield having a blue field or surface with an Indian thereon, dressed in a shirt and moccasins, holding in his right hand a bow, and in his left hand an arrow, point downward, all of gold; and, in the upper corner of the field, above his right arm, a silver star with five points. The crest is a wreath of blue and gold, on which in gold is a right arm, bent at the elbow, clothed and ruffled, with the hand grasping a broadsword." The Indian model used was of the Algonquin nation; the arrow points downward to indicate that the Indian is peaceful; and the star indicates that Massachusetts was one of the original thirteen states.

New England Neptune The New England Neptune (Neptuna lyrata decemcostata) was made the state SHELL on June 26, 1987.
  The Paxton Soil Series was adopted as the SOIL of the Commonwealth by the Legislature on July 10, 1990. [about (external link)]
  All Hail to Massachusetts, words and music by Arthur Marsh, was designated the official SONG of the Commonwealth by an act of the Legislature on July 6, 1981.
Southwest Asia War Memorial The SOUTHWEST ASIA WAR MEMORIAL of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, dedicated to the memory of those who gave their lives in the Desert Shield/Desert Storm conflict, was approved on June 2, 1993, and is located in the City of Worcester.
  Invented in Springfield by Dr. James Naismith in 1891, Basketball was made the official SPORT of Massachusetts on August 8, 2006.
American Elm The American Elm (Ulmus americana) was adopted as the official state TREE on March 21, 1941, to commemorate the fact that General George Washington took command of the Continental Army beneath one on Cambridge Common in 1775.
Ernestina On January 13, 1994, the Schooner Ernestina was designated the official VESSEL of the Commonwealth, with New Bedford as its official homeport. Built in 1894, the Ernestina is the oldest surviving Grand Banks fishing schooner; the only surviving 19th century Gloucester-built fishing schooner; one of two remaining examples of the Fredonia-style schooners; the only offshore example of that type; and one of two sailing Arctic exploration vessels left afloat in the United States. The Ernestina regularly sails the New England coast on educational cruises.
Vietnam War Memorial The VIETNAM WAR MEMORIAL of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was approved on December 11, 1990, and is located in the City of Worcester.

Washington Monument
Theodore Seuss Geisel
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. James Naismith
George Washington

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The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> New England >> Massachusetts

This page was last updated on October 19, 2017.