Dec 18 2006

Today in History: Pilgrims land in 1620

Plymouth_rock2Plymouth Rock is one of the greatest but most disappointing landmarks in the world because it was the landing place of the pilgrims from England, however it was.

The pilgrims were heading for the Hudson River and actually didn’t mean to land in Plymouth Massachusetts, but sometimes things happen that you don’t expect. Everyone thinks that the Pilgrims met the Indians when they landed and standing on the rock, but in fact that myth wasn’t established until 1750. Being near the end of December in New England, the passengers were looking for shelter. They were trying to find a good place to land and Plymouth happened to work for them.

The location of Plymouth Rock, a boulder of granite (more specifically, Dedham granodiorite, a glacial erratic), at the foot of Cole’s Hill is said to have been passed from generation to generation. In 1741, when plans were afoot to build a wharf at the site, a nonagenarian, Thomas Faunce, Elder of the church, pointed out the precise rock his father had told him was the first solid land on which the Pilgrims set foot upon their arrival in the Plymouth. (The Pilgrims had landed at the site of Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod in November 1620 before reaching Plymouth). Elder Faunce had been the town record keeper for most of his adult life and was 95 years old when he made the identification of Plymouth Rock. The rock is located about 650 feet from where it is generally accepted that the initial settlement was built.


During the Rock’s many journeys throughout the town of Plymouth numerous pieces of the Rock were taken, bought and sold. Today approximately 1/3 of the top portion remains. It is estimated that the original Rock weighed 20,000 lb. Although some documents indicate that tourists or souvenir hunters chipped it down, no pieces have been noticeably removed since 1880. Today there are pieces in Pilgrim Hall Museum as well as in the Patent Building in the Smithsonian.

1620, pilgrims, plymouth, plymouth colony, plymouth rock

About the author

Timothy Haroutunian

Timothy Haroutunian is a ServiceNow Cloud Implementation Specialist at Acorio. ServiceNow is an IT Management solution that allows for a complete view of your IT and physical environment.

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