America’s major cities have famous nicknames that even non-natives have come to know—the Big Apple, the Windy City, the City of Brotherly Love.
But one, Beantown, is one of many that Boston has, according to Mental Floss. There is also “The Athens of America,” “The Cradle of Liberty,” and “The Hub of the Universe.”
Howver, Beantown has stuck in people’s minds.
The origins, however, are not as simple as the food staple.
CelebrateBoston.com discusses its early origins has a food staple in Colonial times. The site also adds that Boston became a manufacturer and importer of rum in the late 1700s. Molasses is a byproduct of processing cane sugar and used as an ingredient in rum distillation. Baked beans with molasses and salt pork became the recipe for Boston Baked Beans.
During a Civil War veterans’ convention in 1890, ribbon-bound bean pots were handed out as souvenirs. The vets supposedly described their gifts as coming from “Beantown,” according to Mental Floss.
The most recent references to the origin of Boston as Beantown can be traced to Boston’s first Old Home Week in 1907. To promote the event, around one million stickers were handed out with hands clasped above a bean pot, according to CelebrateBoston.com.
Postcards from the time also reportedly were printed with such slogans as “You don’t know beans until you come to Boston”; “Bigger, Better, Busier, Boston”; and “Souvenir of Boston and Vicinity, Won’t You Have Some?” that includes images like a bean sprout or bean pot.
For a look at these postcards, check out this Imgur post: