Katie Hargrave / Is This Plymouth Rock?
In early 2008, the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts rehabilitated the portico that protects Plymouth Rock. While construction was underway, the rock was "encased in a heavy-duty plywood box for protection." The approximately one million yearly visitors making the pilgrimage to the Pilgrims are unable to see Plymouth Rock.
The first mention of landfall on Plymouth Rock does not occur until 91 years after the Pilgrims land. In fact, the location of the rock is also known to be several hundred yards from where the Pilgrims are suspected to have landed.The shape of our venerated boulder, too, has morphed over time. Fragments of the rock are in museums like the Smithsonian, and it was common practice to take a chipping home as a souvenir, as a relic. Now, we send postcards home to prove to our relatives and friends that we have successfully made the journey. But today, when the rock is concealed, perhaps the questionable history can be seen more clearly.
**If you would like a set of postcards, please send an email to info (at) katiehargrave (dot) us
“This rock has become the object of veneration in the United States. I have seen carefully preserved fragments of it in several towns in the Union. Does this not show that the power and the greatness of men lie entirely in the soul? Here is a stone trodden by the feet of a few wretched people for but an instant, and it becomes famous; it is held in esteem by a great nation, every morsel is revered and its very dust is distributed far and wide. Yet what has become of the thresholds of palaces? And who cares?”
-Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America, p. 36.
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