Plymouth Rock - Today

Plymouth Rock - Today Famous Historical Events Famous People Geography Social Studies American History

No one can be totally sure that the rock depicted in this image - known as “Plymouth Rock” - is really the stepping stone on which William Bradford (and other Pilgrims) trod when they reached “the New World” in 1620.  

In fact, we can’t even be sure that once the Pilgrims reached the safe-harbor waters of Plymouth (Plimouth), in today’s state of Massachusetts, that they even set foot on a rock.  Bradford didn’t write about it nor did any other “Pilgrim Father.”

If the original Pilgrims didn’t claim to have stepped on “Plymouth Rock,”how did the story get started?  It seems to have originated with a man named Thomas Faunce whose father arrived in Plymouth during 1623.

When he was around 95 years old - about 121 years after the Pilgrims reached Plymouth - Faunce learned that a 10-ton boulder in Plymouth’s Harbor was about to be subsumed by a new wharf.  Longing to see a glimpse of the rock one more time, Thomas reached the harbor with the help of others.

Bidding the rock a tearful goodbye, Faunce (who lived a really long life) told a story which he claimed his father (and others) had told him: The rock, in Plymouth Harbor, was the place where the Pilgrims had first stepped foot in the area.

Needless to say, with a story like that, the wharf wasn’t built over the rock.

Instead, the rock was saved, then moved from time to time over the years.  It’s been dropped, split, repaired and whittled-down by souvenir seekers.  Today, it’s a fraction of its former size, but at least it’s a bit more protected.

Whether it really is a piece of granite, which served as a welcome mat for the original Pilgrims, is a fact lost to history.  What we do know is this.  Around 1 million visitors a year come to Plymouth to see the rock.  Perhaps they are pilgrims, too.

This is Plymouth Rock as it appears today.  It is roughly one-third its original size, due to erosion and souvenir-seekers.  The rock is now enclosed in a protected area.

Media Credits

Image depicting Plymouth Rock, online courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


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"Plymouth Rock - Today" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Feb 29, 2020.
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