How many Massachusetts cities and towns can you name?

Well, at least I beat Steph Solis. But she’ll probably remind me that “it’s not a competition” if she ever sees this.

So here’s the situation. Axios Boston posted a link to a site where you can test yourself by seeing how many cities and towns in Massachusetts (or whichever state you choose) you can name off the top of your head, i.e. without using any external sources. This idea immediately grabbed me because I had set myself a similar task on my 21st birthday: I decided then that I would learn the names of all cities and towns in the state.

I gave up almost immediately when I discovered that there are 351 of them!

Now I am older but wiser, so the Axios post inspired me to try it again from a different point of view: instead of memorizing a list, I would see how many I could name without looking at such a list. I got almost half, namely 171, as you’ll see in the map below. Steph only got 104, so I claim victory. (Not that it’s a competition or anything.) You’ll see on the map that I did best in the Boston area—no surprise there—and that there is a pretty big gap in Western Mass between Springfield and Lenox, running all the way north to south from Vermont to Connecticut. Maybe there are no memorable towns in that area.

A word about the map: whenever you correctly type the name of a Massachusetts city or town, a circle is drawn at the appropriate location on the map. The bigger the population, the bigger the circle.

Side note: the site annoyingly calls them all cities, but most of course aren’t. They do, however, offer a clear and perfectly reasonable explanation, for which I thank them:

I use the term ‘city’ very loosely to encompass almost any populated human settlement, whether its official designation is city, town, village or anything else. I decided to name the quizzes “How many cities can you name?” because that sounded better than “How many cities, towns and villages can you name?” even if it’s less strictly accurate.

Categories: Dorchester/Boston, Life, Teaching & Learning