Boston, MA


11 May 1659 "For preventing disorders, arising in several places within this jurisdiction by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other communities, to the great dishonor of God and offense of others: it is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shilling as a fine to the county." - Records of the General Court, Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1681 1659 ban on Christmas is lifted by English-appointed governor Sir Edmund Andros, along with a ban on Saturday festivities.
1879 Massachusetts passes the "Crimes Against Chastity, Morality, Decency and Good Order" law, prohibiting selling, lending, giving away or exhibiting contraceptives or abortifacients.
15 Jan 1919 The molasses holding tank of the United States Alcohol Company explodes, sending two million gallons of crude molasses down Commercial Street in the North End of Boston. While hilarious on the surface, 21 people are drowned in the molasses, over a dozen horses are lost, an elevated train platform collapses, and an entire firehouse is pushed on its side. 125 lawsuits are filed, resulting in over a million dollars in damages.
Feb 1962 John Geoghan is ordained as a priest (Blessed Sacrament, Saugus, MA), and commences a joyous streak of raping over 150 boys for the next 33 years. During this time he is bounced between parishes in Saugus, Concord, Hingham, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, and Weston. At nearly every parish, he is accused of raping boys, and in every case of accusation the Boston Archdiocese proceeds to move Geoghan to another Parish. At various times, the touchy-feely father is given therapy or counseling, but it apparently doesn't "take". Geoghan is defrocked in 1998, is later sent to prison for a single proved crime (many of the cases have gone past the Statute of Limitations) and is ultimately strangled in prison.
14 Jun 1962 The Boston Strangler begins a 2-year reign of terror in the Boston area, sexually molesting and strangling 11 women in their apartments. (Speculation exists that there are other related murders as well.) One Albert DeSalvo confesses to the crimes, although heavy doubt is raised as to whether DeSalvo (IQ 60-70) was capable of such acts. DeSalvo is stabbed to death at Walpole State Prison in 1973 while serving a life sentence.
1970 Boston claims that Aerosmith formed there, but actually the band begins when Joe Perry and Steven Tyler meet while working at a Sunapee, NH ice cream parlor.
Jan 1971 John Silber, a man characterized by the Boston press as borderline insane, becomes the seventh president of Boston University. His unique fiery personality (he is later passed over for a position on Ronald Reagan's cabinet for reasons of "temperament"), coupled with a Gubernatorial run in 1990 and various public appearances, lend some surface credence to this claim.
1984 New Kids on the Block (later NKOTB) formed. Created by Maurice Starr and Mary Alford by auditioning 500 Boston-area teens. Intended by Starr to be a white version of New Edition, a band Starr had lost control of in 1983. The band goes on to mar the musical landscape until 1994, when the group disbands.
Sep 1984 Bernard Cardinal Law of the Boston Archdiocese receives a letter claiming that Priest John Geoghan of the St. Brendan's Parish in Dorchester has molested seven boys. Cardinal Law responds swiftly and classifies Geoghan as "between assignments", then reassigns him to another parish, in this case St. Julia's Church in Weston.
12 Jun 1989 The Boston Hard Rock Cafe (#17) opens on Clarendon Street in the Back Bay. It dubs itself the "Massachusetts Institute of Rock", conveniently forgetting the existence of the Berklee School of Music, an institute where Rock is in fact taught, sans expensive meals.
1990 During the 1990 gubernatorial race for Massachusetts, candidate John Silber, president of Boston University, creates a Boston legend when he describes why he thinks there should be a limit on health benefits for the elderly: "When you've had a long life, and you're 'ripe', it's time to go."
16 Aug 1990 "I don't believe anybody has a right to own any kind of a firearm. I believe in order to obtain a permit to own a firearm, that person should undergo an exhaustive criminal background check. In addition, an applicant should give up his right to privacy and submit his medical records for review to see if the person has ever had a problem with alcohol, drugs or mental illness... The Constitution doesn't count!" - John Silber, former chancellor of Boston University and candidate for Governor of Massachusetts. Speech before the Quequechan Club of Fall River, MA.
23 Oct 1990 A dazed and wounded Charles Stuart telephones the police to say that he and his pregnant wife Carol have been shot. He provides a vague description of the gunman, a black man in a jogging suit. The Boston Police get right on it and start rounding up every black man for a very large radius in anything resembling a jogging suit. A suspect, Willie Bennett, is found, and is close to conviction when it comes to light that Stuart had shot his wife and himself to claim a million-dollar insurance policy (his brother, an accomplice, rats him out). His infant son, delivered by cesarian section from his dying wife, had lived just 17 days. When fingers suddenly point away from Bennett to the husband, Charles Stuart commits suicide off a 25-story bridge in Charlestown. Willie Bennett is quietly released and all charges are dropped. A lot of blacks in Boston are still very pissed about this whole affair.
11 Sep 2001 United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 11 leave Boston's Logan airport bound for Los Angeles, loaded with fuel and with a minimal amount of passengers. They are both hijacked and diverted to give New York City a very special, very unique experience.
24 Aug 2003 Defrocked priest John J. Geoghan, serving six years for fondling a boy in a public swimming pool, is strangled to death by another inmate, Joseph L. Druce. Druce later claims he spent weeks studying guard movements to gain access to Geoghan's cell, intending to kill the priest because he was gay. Geoghan, 68, had been accused of molesting over 150 children, resulting in over 100 civil suits against the Archdiocese of Boston, and was awaiting another trial.
25 Aug 2003 State Representative Demetrius J. Atsalis, quoted in the Boston Herald on Geoghan's death: "Not to sound cold here, but growing up, you hear about jail-house justice and this might be a case of that...those who prey on children aren't seen in the same light as other convicts. Is it shocking? I don't think so. His crime was against children and convicts know that -- they don't like it."
18 Nov 2003 The Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have a right to marriage. "The right to marry means little if it does not include the right to marry the person of one's choice." It trumps similar decisions by Hawaii and Vermont by insisting that law be immediately passed granting equal rights to marriage for all couples within 180 days.
4 Jan 2004 The statewide ban on the purchase of alcohol on Sunday is officially lifted, one of the last "blue laws" still on the books. The repeal had been signed into law in November of 2003 as part of a general Job Creation package. In actuality, the ban had previously been lifted in all towns within 10 miles of other states (for competition purposes) and before certain holidays. Astoundingly, this decision is not just controversial, but decisively so, framed as a general breakdown of respect for the Sabbath and for family values. (Ignoring the fact that nearly every other item of a purchasable fashion was available for sale.)
1 Feb 2004 The New England Patriots win Super Bowl XXXVIII, 32-29 over the Carolina Panthers, in a very close and exciting game. Afterwards, rioters in Boston flip four cars and one partier is killed when a Jeep rams into a crowd. Alcohol is blamed all over the place. No blame is placed on the baring of Janet Jackson's breast during the half-time show.
4 Feb 2004 The Massachusetts Supreme Court ups the ante on its previous ruling granting equal rights to marriage for gays, saying that terms like "civil unions" are not acceptable, and that only the term "marriage" will suffice.
4 Feb 2004 Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston claims that the lifting of the ban on Sunday liquor sales in Boston is the root cause of the Super Bowl riots the previous Sunday. It is pointed out in the local press that similar riots had occurred in 2002 after a Super Bowl victory when Sunday liquor sales were still banned.

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