Postcard History: Plymouth Rock

By Carla Charter

PLYMOUTH, MA-One New England town more than any other, is associated with Thanksgiving, Plymouth. There the Pilgrims landed on December 11, 1620.

There, is a stone that marks the spot where, oral tradition says the pilgrims actually stepped There was no mention of them stepping on the rocks in their original writings however we would not expect them to mention it,” according to Matt Villamaino, Visitor Services Supervisor, Pilgrim Memorial State Park. “Even if they did not step on it, we can actually say they saw it, as the original settlement was 500 feet from the rock.”  There is a theory they may have even used it as a landmark when they were coming into the harbor, he continued. In 1880 the Pilgrim Society had the date 1920 carved into the rock.

As for the first Thanksgiving, the pilgrims only wrote two paragraphs about it in their writings, Villamaino said.  The main meat they ate was probably venison brought by the Wampanoags. “They do mention fowl in their writings but it was more likely waterfowl than Turkey,” he continued.

Nearby Pilgrim Hall Museum houses artifacts which came with the pilgrims on the Mayflower as well as artifacts later owned by the Mayflower Pilgrims.  Among the items at the museum is the cradle of Peregrine White who is one of the two babies born to the Pilgrims, during their journey to their new home.

Plimouth Plantation, a living history museum depicting the Pilgrims first settlement, is also in Plymouth. The Mayflower II, a replica of the Pilgrim’s original ship, usually docked at Plimouth Plantation is currently at Seaport Museum in Connecticut for restorations.

Another Pilgrim related site in town is the National Monument to the Forefathers, the largest solid granite monument in the United States, at 81 feet tall. The statue is made up of multiple pieces of granite placed together and with carved allegorical figures representing Faith Morality, Law, Education and Liberty. The cornerstone of the statue was laid in 1859 and the monument itself was completed in 1889. More information on Plymouth Rock can be found at www.mass.gov/locations/pilgrim-memorial-state-park

More information can be found on the Pilgrim Hall Museum at www.pilgrimhall.org

More Information on Plimouth Plantation can be found at  www.plimoth.org

More information on the National Monument to the Forefathers can be found at www.mass.gov/locations/national-monument-to-the-forefathers