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BOStoday: Two truths and a lie

Can you spot the local lie?


Boston was home to the first chocolate company in the US.

We’d never want to lie to you, Boston, but it’s just the name of the game.

If you’ve played this before, you’ll know that the right — or should we say wrong answer — is not always the most obvious choice. Here are three statements about our city, one of which is a lie:

☎️ The first phone call was made on March 10, 1876 in Boston.

“Mr. Watson, come here.” Those were the first words spoken over a telephone by Alexander Graham Bell to Thomas Augustus Watson. The historic event happened at 5 Exeter Pl. in Boston. Watson worked with Bell on many telephone experiments, and the first complete sentence was heard through a receiver connected by wire to a transmitting instrument located in another room.

🍫 Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was inspired by the first chocolate company in the US — the Baker Chocolate Company in Dorchester.

The chocolate company opened in the 1760s, thanks to local businessman John Hannon and Harvard grad Dr. James Baker. Originally known as Hannon’s Best Chocolate, the company was renamed to Baker Chocolate Company after John disappeared on a trip to buy cocoa beans. At the height of business, the mill was producing five tons of what we know today as bakers chocolate a day. Today the Dorchester mill has been repurposed into luxury apartments.

📍A 12,000 ton tank of fermented molasses flooded the streets of Boston in 1919.

The 50-ft-tall tank was owned and operated by the Purity Distilling Company in the North End. The tank was holding ~12,000 tons on Jan. 15, 1919 —enough to fill three and a half Olympic swimming pools. The weight + gases from the fermentation was what some experts believe caused the tank to collapse, spilling 2.3 million gallons of the sticky sludge onto the streets of Boston and leading to the Great Molasses Flood.

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