5 Great Western Mass Firsts

Western Mass is famous for lots of things…an extraordinary amount of top colleges and universities, beautiful scenery, artsy towns and more.  But there are also many things that were created here as well.  Here are a few of them…

1. First dog show

The first dog show in the country was held in Springfield in the late 1800’s.  Today you can catch several dog shows through the year at the Eastern States Exposition, including the CT River Working Group Association Dog Show in March.

2. Basketball and Volleyball

Sports fans surely know that both the games of basketball and volleyball originated here.  Basketball was invented in Springfield in 1891, and volleyball made its debut in Holyoke in 1895.  Today we have both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Volleyball Hall of Fame to commemorate the games.

3. Gee Bee monoplane land-plane speed record

In 1931 the Granville Brothers’ Gee Bee monoplane broke the world’s land-plane speed record in Springfield.  Today you can see an authentic Gee Bee plane suspended up in the air at the Wood Museum of History at the Springfield Museums.

4. Smith & Wesson

The country’s largest gun maker, Smith & Wesson, originally set up shop in the Springfield in the 1850’s.

5. The first board game

Next time you break out a board game, remember that the first board game was “The Checkered Game of Life,” (now known as “Life”), originally manufactured by Milton Bradley in 1860.  Remember THAT next time you play Trivial Pursuit!

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