1677 Harlow Old Fort House

1677 Harlow Old Fort House
119 Sandwich Street
Plymouth, MA
Phone: 508-746-0012

Built in 1677, the gambrel-roofed Harlow Old Fort House is one of the few remaining 17th century buildings in the oldest established town in the Commonwealth. It was originally the family residence of settler William Harlow, a farmer, cooper and town official, who also served as sergeant of the local militia and participated in King Philip's War. In 1676, Harlow was granted permission to salvage material from the Pilgrim's fort-house on Burial Hill to use in the construction of his new dwelling. From the early 19th century, the Harlow House has been notable for the hand-hewn beams attributed to this source. The house, a local landmark for generations, is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.

In 1920, when the Harlow House was put up for sale by its last private owners, much of Plymouth's historic waterfront was being razed to prepare for the Tercentenary celebration of the Landing of the Pilgrims. The Plymouth Antiquarian Society recognized the importance of preserving one of the town's few remaining First Period structures and purchased the Harlow House for $3,000. Under the direction of architect Joseph E. Chandler, the house was restored to show the early hall with its central hearth and wide board flooring. Since 1922, the Harlow House has been in continuous operation as a historic house museum, furnished with early American artifacts to show daily life in colonial New England.

After hundreds of years of being lived in, the Harlow House remains a welcoming place for children and families to explore the past. Tours and educational programs are offered seasonally. A series of festive special events is held at the site annually, including "The Corn Planting," enacted each year by local schoolchildren, a spinning bee and craft fair, and the annual Pilgrim Breakfast, a traditional New England repast featuring fish cakes, baked beans and corn bread. The Sgt. William Harlow Family Association holds a gathering for descendants of original settler William Harlow at the historic homestead every summer.

Tours June through August: Thursdays, 2 to 6 pm.