NewEnglandTravelPlanner.com Logo   Forefathers' Monument, Plymouth MA
The National Monument to the Forefathers is the sort of grand statue-on-a-pediment you'd expect to see on a broad boulevard in a world capital, but instead it rises from a hilltop on a back street in Plymouth MA.

 

The monument stands in a small park on Allerton Street, off Samoset (US Route 44) near the junction with MA Route 3A, a mile or two northwest of Plymouth Rock. Follow the signs on the road.

First proposed in 1820, the monument was designed by Hammet Billings of Boston in 1855 and dedicated in 1889.

The composition is figurative, with a great granite statue of Faith surrounded by smaller figures of Liberty (with Peace and Tyranny Overthrown), Law (with Justice and Mercy), Education (with Wisdom and Youth), and Morality holding the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) in the left hand and the scroll of Revelation in the right.

Between the statues, bas-reliefs remember the most significant events of Pilgrim history: the departure from Delft Harbor in the Netherlands, the signing of the Mayflower Compact at Provincetown, the landing at Plymouth Rock, and the treaty with Massasoit, Sachem of the Wampanoags.

The monument, 81 feet (25 meters) high, is impressive, and it's interesting to speculate about the times and people's thoughts through its history: when it was planned (only 44 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence), when the cornerstone was laid (1859, on the eve of the Civil War), and when it was dedicated (a year after invention of the Kodak box camera and the electric motor).

The view from the little park, by the way, is very fine; a small cast-iron outline map near the base of the monument traces the outline of Cape Cod, which you can see on a clear day.



Plymouth Rock

Mayflower II

Plimoth Plantation

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Forefathers' Monument, Plymouth MA

The grand National Monument to the Forefathers in Plymouth MA.