Quincy (pronounced ) is a city in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. It is a major part of Metropolitan Boston, and is Boston's immediate southern suburb. Its population in 2010 was 92,271, making it the 8th largest city in the state. Known as the "City of Presidents," Quincy is the birthplace of two U.S. Presidents — John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams — as well as John Hancock, a President of the Continental Congress and the first signer of the Declaration of Independence.
First settled in 1625, Quincy was briefly part of Dorchester and Boston before becoming the north precinct of Braintree in 1640. In 1792, Quincy was split off from Braintree; the new town was named after Colonel John Quincy, maternal grandfather of Abigail Adams and after whom John Quincy Adams was also named. Quincy became a city in 1888.
For more than a century, Quincy was home to a thriving granite industry; the city was also the site of the Granite Railway, the United States' first commercial railroad. Shipbuilding, at the Fore River Shipyard, was another key part of the city's economy. In the 20th century, both Howard Johnson's and Dunkin' Donuts were founded in the city.
Prior to the settlement of the area by English colonists, a hill east of the mouth of the Neponset River near what is now called Squantum was the seat of the ruling Massachusett sachem, or native American leader, Chickatawbut. Called Moswetuset Hummock, it was visited by Plymouth Colony commander Myles Standish and Squanto, a native guide, in 1621. Four years later, a party led by Captain Wollaston established a post on a low hill near the south shore of Quincy Bay east of present-day Black's Creek. The settlers found the area suitable for farming, as Chickatawbut and his group, who used the name Passonagessit ("Little Neck of Land") for the area, had cleared much of the land of trees. This settlement was named Mount Wollaston in honor of the leader, who soon after 1625 left the area bound for Virginia. The Wollaston neighborhood in Quincy still retains Captain Wollaston's name.
Upon the departure of Wollaston, Thomas Morton took over leadership of the post and the settlement proceeded to gain a reputation for with native women and drunkenness. Morton renamed the settlement Ma-re-Mount ("Hill by the Sea") and later wrote in reference to the conservative separatists of Plymouth Colony to the south who disapproved of his libertine practices that they were "threatening to make it a woefull mount and not a merry mount". In 1627 Morton was arrested by Standish for violating the code of conduct in a way harmful to the colony and was sent back to England, only to return and be arrested by Puritans the next year. The area of Quincy now called Merrymount is located on the site of the original English settlement of 1625 and takes its name from the punning name given by Morton.
The area was first incorporated as part of Dorchester in 1630, and was briefly annexed by Boston in 1634. The area became Braintree in 1640, bordered along the coast of Massachusetts Bay by Dorchester to the north and Weymouth to the east. Beginning in 1708, the modern border of Quincy first took shape as the North Precinct of Braintree. Following the American Revolution, Quincy was officially incorporated as a separate town named for Col. John Quincy in 1792, and was made a city in 1888. In 1845 the Old Colony Railroad opened; the Massachusetts Historical Commission stated that the railroad was "the beginning of a trend toward suburbanization". Quincy became as accessible to Boston as was Charlestown. The first suburban land company, Bellevue Land Co., had been organized in northern Quincy in 1870. Quincy's population grew by over 50 percent during the 1920s.
Among the city's several firsts was the Granite Railway, the first commercial railroad in the United States. It was constructed in 1826 to carry granite from a Quincy quarry to the Neponset River in Milton so that the stone could then be taken by boat to erect the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Quincy granite became famous throughout the nation, and stonecutting became the city's principal economic activity. Quincy was also home to the first iron furnace in the United States, the John Winthrop, Jr. Iron Furnace Site (also known as Braintree Furnace), from 1644 to 1653.
In the 1870s, the city gave its name to the Quincy Method, an influential approach to education developed by Francis W. Parker while he served as Quincy's superintendent of schools. Parker, an early proponent of progressive education, put his ideas into practice in the city's underperforming schools; four years later, a state survey found that Quincy's students were excelling.
Quincy was additionally important as a shipbuilding center. Sailing ships were built in Quincy for many years, including the only seven-masted schooner ever built, Thomas W. Lawson. The Fore River area became a shipbuilding center in the 1880s; founded by Thomas A. Watson, who became wealthy as assistant to Alexander Graham Bell in developing the telephone, many famous warships were built at the Fore River Shipyard. Amongs these were the aircraft carrier ; the battleships , now preserved as a museum ship at Battleship Cove in Massachusetts, and ; and , the world's last all-gun heavy warship, which is still preserved at Fore River as the main exhibit of the United States Naval Shipbuilding Museum. John J. Kilroy, reputed originator of the famous Kilroy Was Here graffiti, was a welding inspector at Fore River.
Quincy was also an aviation pioneer thanks to Dennison Field. Located in the Squantum section of town it was one of the world's first airports and was partially developed by Amelia Earhart. In 1910, it was the site of the Harvard Aero Meet, the second air show in America. It was later leased to the Navy for an airfield, and served as a reserve Squantum Naval Air Station into the 1950s.
The Howard Johnson's and Dunkin' Donuts restaurant chains were both founded in Quincy. Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys got its start in the city's Wollaston neighborhood in 1996. Quincy is also home to the United States' longest running Flag Day parade, a tradition that began in 1952 under Richard Koch, a former director of Parks and Recreation, who started the "Koch Club" sports organization for kids and had an annual parade with flags.