When was the first toll collected on the Mass Pike? Which famous comedian was born in your hometown? Which Celtics coach will be immortalized in the Celtics' new practice facility? All these Commonwealth trivia questions and more, answered in this week's trivia recap.
FRIDAY, October 28
Q: The MassDOT will end cash-tolling across the Commonwealth of Mass. at 10pm on October 28 and begin taking down tollbooths in favor of a so-called "All Electronic Tolling" (AET) system. Tollbooths are particularly emblematic of the experience of driving on the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90). When did the Mass Pike tollbooths first open?
A: May 15, 1957, the same day the Turnpike officially opened. It was always designed to be a toll-road, part of a plan to connect MA from the New York border to Boston. It was first proposed by William F. Callahan in 1952, and construction started in January 1955. Interestingly, the original Mass Pike did not end in Boston, as it does today. Instead it traveled 123.3 miles from the New York border to Weston, ending at MA-128. It took several years of contentious legislative battles before the Mass Pike was finally extended into Boston in 1965.
An in-depth history of the Massachusetts Turnpike can be found at the Boston Roads website.
More information about the AET system can be found via the MassDOT.
THURSDAY, October 27
Q: Who of these four famous comedians was NOT born in MA?
A) Amy Poehler
B) Steve Carrell
C) Jimmy Fallon
D) Conan O'Brian
A: D) Jimmy Fallon. He was born in Bay Ridge, New York City, NY. Amy Poehler was born in Newton (grew up in Burlington); Steve Carrell was born in Concord (grew up in Acton); and Conan O'Brian was born and raised in Brookline.
WEDNESDAY, October 26
Q: The Celtics kicked off their 2016-2017 season on this day. They also broke ground on their new practice facility earlier this week. Which Hall of Fame Celtics coach will the new practice facility be named for?
A) Red Auerbach
B) Bill Russell
C) Larry Bird
A: A) Red Auerbach. Between 1950-1966, Auerbach lead the Celtics to 11 NBA finals appearances - 10 of which were in consecutive years (1957-1969), and 9 of those ended in NBA Championship titles (1957, 1959-1966). It was an unprecedented achievement, and so in Auerbach's honor, the new 70,000-square-foot Celtics' practice facility will be called "The Auerbach Center at New Balance World Headquarters."
Extra: Bill Russell did coach the Celtics (1966-69), however he is not a Celtics Hall of Fame coach. He is a Celtics Hall of Fame player. Larry Bird, on the other hand, has not coached the Celtics - he coached the Pacers, from 1997-2000.
TUESDAY, October 25
Q: What is the median age of the United States population?
A: According to the CIA, the 2016 estimate for median age = 37.9. Median age for men is 36.6, and for women 39.3.
Other fun facts: The U.S. is the 62nd-oldest country in the world, with Georgia being just a tad older at 38.0, and New Zealand being a bit younger at 37.8. Also, for every 1 women in the United States, there are 0.97 men...
MONDAY. October 24
In honor of the Chicago Cubs making it to the World Series for the first time since 1945 in hopes of their first win since 1908:
Q: Which of these three things is older than the Chicago Cubs' last World Series title?
A) The Titanic
B) Wrigley Field, where the Cubs play
C) The L, Chicago's public transit system (their equivalent to the T)
A: C) The L! It was first built in 1893.
Wrigley Field was built in 1914, which means it has never seen a Cubs World Series win, and only one Cubs World Series trip in 1945. The Titanic was built in 1909, which means it was completed, set sail, sank, and was rediscovered all since the last time the Cubs won a World Series.
(The Cleveland Indians, by the way, have also had a drought, winning their last title in 1948. Less flashy than the Cubs' drought, but nothing to sneeze at.)