Welcome to Pilgrim Memorial State Park
Posted by: NorStar
N 41° 57.493 W 070° 39.729
19T E 362252 N 4646473
Quick Description: "Here is a stone which the feet of a few outcasts pressed for an instant; and the stone becomes famous; it is treasured by a great nation; its very dust is shared as a relic. - Alex de Touqueville Democracy in America, 1835"
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 2/6/2007 4:36:29 PM
Waymark Code: WM172Q
The sign says:
"Deposited in the harbor by glacial action, and smoothed by centuries of tidal wash, Plymouth Rock is both landmark and symbol. Tradition tells us that Pilgrims stepped upon this rock when they arrived in Plymouth in December of 1620, but through the years, it has come to represent much more than the site of a famous landing.
"Neither William Bradford nor Edward Winslow, the two great chroniclers of the Pilgrims' endeavor, refers to a rock in his descriptions of the scene. Although several exploring parties and work details came ashore, no one mentions a rock. It is possible the rock was mearly a convenient landmark, not unusual enough to bear writing about. Some historians suggest that the Pilgrims may have built a makeshift pier from the rock, using it during the five months the Mayflower was anchored in the harbor.
"It was not until 1741 that it captured the attention of Plymouth residents. Thomas Faunce, 95-year old Elder in the First Church, asked to be carried to the harbor where a new wharf was soon to be built. Faunce told a small gathering of friends and neighbors that the boulder in the harbor was the place the first arrivals had made landfall, a story he had heard as a boy when 23 of the firstcomers were still alive.
"The wharf was built, and a generation passed before any public action was taken to memorialize the rock. In 1774, Theophilus Cotton, who was 26 when he heard Fauce tell his story, persuaded the town to move the rock. With revolutionary zeal, and with the help of 30 team of oxen, the townspeople moved the top half of the rock to Town Square where it was set in place as a liberty monument, sybolizing both the Pilgrims' struggle for separation from the Church of England and the American colonists' growing movement for independence from Britain.
"In 1820, during the 200th anniversary of the landing, the famous Orator Daniel Webster addressed a celebratory gathering. He spoke fo the rock as a symbol of the suffering the Pilgrims had endured in their quest for civil and religious freedom.
"On the eve of the Civil War, the Pilgrim Society, formed in 1820, began to acquire land around the harbor, including the site of the rock. After the war, the Society completed a protective stone canopy over the piece of the rock that had remained in what had become a busy commercial harbor. By 1880 the Society had reunited the two pieces of Plymouth Rock and had acquired all the shoreline nearby, setting the stage for an elaborate memorial and waterside park to be dedicated at the 300th anniversary in 1920.
"The rock is a piece of Dedham granite, although common along the Eastern seaboard, this is the only example in Plymouth Harbor. A prominent white scare on the surface shows the strain of dramatic land compression several million years ago.
"In 1620 the boulder was approximately three times bigger than you see today. Almost half of what remains of the rock lies buried beneath the sand. Over the years the rock was moved many times and pieces were broken off in transit; souvenier hunters chipped away still more fragments before the rock was enclosed by the Pilgrim Society.
"It is the fact that they landed - and remained - that matters, not where they landed. Yet it is no bad thing for a nation to be founded on a rock. - Rose T. Briggs, Plymouth Rock: History and Significance, 1968."
There are photographs and captions with this sign that I won't capture here. Maybe if a visitor wants to add something to the above text, by all means put it in the log!
The sign is, of course, by Plymouth Rock - you can't miss it.
Agency Responsible for Placement: Other (Place below)
Agency Responsible for Placement (if not in list above): Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
City/Town Name: Plymouth
Year Placed: Not listed
Relevant Web Site: Not listed
When logging a Massachusetts Historic Marker, we ask that you not only describe your visit, but to upload a picture from it. The picture does not have to be of the marker - one picture of the marker is enough. But a photo of you standing next to the marker or a photograph the subject of the marker - those are examples of possible photographs to upload.