Why The…? Boston is Called The Hub

In addition to showcasing all of Boston’s neighborhoods, we’re going to start doing some homework on why certain Boston traditions are what they are!  Boston roots run really deep and we often don’t take the time to learn why things are the way they are…until now.  We are going to dig deep to find out things like why we call it ‘Supper’ or why many New Englanders eat Franks and Bean on Saturdays.  If you have anything you’d like us to find out, let us know!

This week, we are getting to the bottom of why Boston is referred to as ‘The Hub’ by people worldwide! The hub is actually short for “The Hub of the Solar System” and it refers specifically to the Massachusetts State House. The golden domed building got this nickname in 1858 from Oliver Wendell Holmes.  He wrote in an article, “[The] Boston State-House is the hub of the solar system. You couldn’t pry that out of a Boston man, if you had the tire of all creation straightened out for a crowbar.” This implies that Boston is the center of the universe; which can only mean that Bostonian’s Masshole attitude dates all the way back to the 1800’s….sounds about right!


Though most people don’t know the origin of the nickname (until now!), it is still often used around the world when people refer to Boston.  It’s used during sporting events as a synonym for Boston much like New York would be ‘The Big Apple’.  There’s also the famous restaurant at the top of the Prudential Center called “Top of the Hub” because it’s located at one of the highest points in Boston.

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