‘Jingle Bells’ Was Written in a Massachusetts Tavern, and Wait Until You See What’s There Now
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
There are so many iconic Christmas and holiday songs, and you better believe that we know all of the words to every single traditional one. You know what I'm talking about; the original songs like "Jingle Bells". As a matter of fact, that song's home is right here in New England.
According to Atlas Obscura, "Jingle Bells" was composed at the Simpson Tavern in Medford, Massachusetts, just outside Boston in 1850 by James Pierpont. The lyrics of the song tell of the sleigh rides held on Salem Street in the early 1800s.
Now if you decide to go check out the Simpson Tavern, you won't find it. While the Boston and New England area is filled with incredible historical sites, the Simpson Tavern is no more.
What you will see, and I can't help but giggle a bit, is Drizik Eyecare. Yes, you too can buy eye glasses and sunglasses at the site where "Jingle Bells" was written at 19 High Street in Medford Square.
At least there's a historical marker, which the car in the above photo is blocking. I do need to add, in order to further complicate things, that according to Atlas Obscura, some believe that James Pierpont was not in Medford in 1850. They instead believe that he was in California during the Gold Rush, and actually wrote the song in a rooming house somewhere in Boston.
Further still, the town of Savannah, Georgia, claims that James wrote the song there, since it was actually copyrighted in 1857. Since it takes a bit to receive a copyright we'll give that date to Savannah, but hands off claiming the song was actually written there.
Here's one more fun fact for you, too. According to the History Channel, "Jingle Bells", which doesn't mention any holiday at all, appears to have been written and performed for a Thanksgiving service at a church the Pierpont's attended.