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Massachusetts Colleges

Massachusetts Colleges


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was founded in 1620 and was probably the most prominent of the thirteen colonies that banded together to form the United States.  Boston had the busiest harbor during the decades when many of the more refined products desired by the New World residents came from Europe.  After the Revolutionary War the state retained its economic status among the states and during the early portion of the nineteenth century, pioneered a number of industrial developments.  The textile industry and the shoe industry developed in mills along Massachusetts’ rivers which provided power to the machinery via waterwheels. 


Massachusetts’ industrial power continued to develop through the Civil War into the Gaslight Age.   Eastern Massachusetts produced weapons and uniforms for the Union troops as well as providing thousands of its young men as soldiers.  Thinkers and writers such as William James, Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickenson powered an intellectual movement in the area. 


Today, Boston lays claim to remarkable power and depth for a city its size.  It is the financial center of the Northeast with a substantial number of banking, insurance and real estate businesses headquartered there.  It has a busy port and is a communications hub for the Northeast.  The city has twenty five hospitals and clinics and has taken a lead among the countries municipalities in public health care.  The Boston area is also a center for biotechnology and for digital IT development, software and electronics.


To the west, the Berkshire Mountains maintain Massachusetts’ rural feeling.  There is some agriculture in western portions of the state but the Berkshires are also popular as a summer retreat and many resorts and cottages can be found there.  The Boston Symphony Orchestra takes up residence every summer at Tanglewood, a magnificent performing and teaching venue where people come to hear the orchestra and various other classical music ensembles perform, and where members of the orchestra provide musical educational opportunities to the state’s aspiring musicians.  Springfield, the state’s capital, is also in the western portion of the state.


Along the coast, there are a number of old fishing towns and summer retreats.  Some of them like New Bedford retain their commercial fishery.  Marblehead and Falmouth are known for their nineteenth century architecture represented by the summer homes built there by well to do Massachusetts families.  Cape Cod is also a famous summer retreat, with a string of former fishing villages now filled with summer cottages.  The islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have long histories as whaling ports and are now also summer retreats and tourist havens.


Massachusetts is second to no state in its institutions of higher education.  Harvard and MIT are within shouting distance along the Charles River in Boston.  There are sixty eight colleges and universities in the Boston metropolitan area.  Boston University is among them, with one of the most innovative and highly developed online education programs of any established college in the country.  Many of those private schools are prohibitively expensive but the concentration of that much academic power in a city of less than seven hundred thousand does much to shape the social and cultural spirit of the city.

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