City Firsts has published a list of City Firsts. “This list of interesting first happenings around the country is a slice of American history.”

  • Boston Common was America’s first public park, built in 1634.
  • The first American public library was built in Boston, Massachusetts in 1653.
  • The world’s first drive-in movie theatre was built in 1933 near Camden, New Jersey.
  • The first ambulance service was established in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1865.
  • The first electric traffic lights were invented and installed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914.
  • Detroit, Michigan shares the world’s first and only auto traffic tunnel between two nations with Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
  • Detroit, Michigan built the nation’s first urban freeway, the Davison, in 1942.
  • St. Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia was the site of the first Mother’s Day celebration in 1908.
  • The first dinosaur fossil found in the United States was that of a Hadrosaurus Folkii in Haddonfield, New Jersey, where it is now the state dinosaur.
  • The world’s first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1935.
  • The Pennsylvania Hospital, founded in 1751 in Philadelphia, was the nation’s first hospital.
  • San Francisco was the first incorporated city in California – incorporated on February 18, 1850.
  • Georgia’s first incorporated city was Savannah — incorporated in 1789.
  • In 1912, Sumter, South Carolina, became the first municipality in the U.S. to formally adopt the council-manager form of government.
  • Winchester, Virginia is the first city to have a street named for George Washington. It appears on a 1752 map of Winchester and was named by his friend, Col. James Wood, who founded Winchester.

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