Located in Pilgrim Memorial State Park on the shore of Plymouth Harbor, this simple glacial erratic boulder has become a world famous symbol representing something different to each person who looks at it.
Although no historical evidence exists to confirm Plymouth Rock as the Pilgrims’ actual steppingstone to the New World, the boulder was identified as this spot in 1741, 121 years after the arrival of the Mayflower. Thomas Faunce, a 94-year-old church elder who said his father, who arrived in Plymouth in 1623, along with several of the original Mayflower passengers assured him the boulder was the exact landing spot. When the elderly Faunce heard that a wharf was to be built over the rock, he wanted one final glimpse. He reportedly gave Plymouth Rock a tearful goodbye.
Whether Faunce’s assertion was accurate or not, we may never know. What we do know, is that Plymouth Rock quickly became an American icon and a tangible monument to freedom. Nearly four centuries after the arrival of the Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock is viewed by more than one million visitors each year.