Vikings come to Boston
October 3, 2007 7:12 AM Subscribe
Why is there so much Viking-themed architecture in Boston? The answer lies in racism and baking powder. Eben Horsfeld revolutionized bread-making in the 1890s when he developed Rumford's Baking Powder. Inspired by a Norwegian superstar and nationalist and a mysterious stone, he became convinced that the Viking Lief Ericson had landed in Cambridge, which he called Norumbega, and funded monuments and research to that effect. The Boston elite, threatened by new Irish immigrants, quickly seized on this concept, since it showed that the cleaned-up Viking, and not Catholic Columbus, that had first settled their sacred city. A century later, it was discovered that the Vikings did reach America first, though never Boston.
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