Jenney Grist Mill
An Authentic Working Mill
The Jenney Grist Mill is a reconstruction of the first mill
built in the country. John Jenney, one of the original Pilgrims,
built the mill in 1636 to accommodate the growing population in
Plymouth and the surrounding towns thereby changing the quality
of life for these people. The mill is located on Town Brook and
is along side of the original location of Plymouth Plantation.
Water from Jenny Pond supplies the power to the 14-foot diameter
breast wheel just as it did to the original mill.
A working gristmill, it stands on the site of the original mill
built in 1636. Mr. Jenney, a brewer by trade, came to America in
1623 with his wife Sarah and their children. He started a salt
factory on Clarke Island, owned interest in a coastal trading
ship and built and operated the mill until his death in 1644.
His wife Sarah and son Samuel continued to run the mill after
his death. The mill ground corn for 213 years continuously until
1847 when it was destroyed by fire. In 1970 the Jenney Grist
Mill was rebuilt. It continues to grind corn today as it did in
"Plymouth's Jenney Grist Mill - A Historic Presentation"
"Discover Plymouth's History - A Walking Tour"
Mayflower II's 50th Anniversary Special:
Buy a combo ticket to Plimoth Plantation & the Mayflower II *at
The Jenney Grist Mill and get admission to "The History of
Plymouth's Jenney Grist Mill - A Live Presentation" tour FREE!
Ticket(s) must be purchased through and paid to The Jenney Grist
Mill for this offer to be valid. Tickets may be purchased on the
day of your visit.
Adult Combo Ticket $25.00
Child Combo Ticket $15.00
*Valid only when purchased at the Grist Mill. Tickets may be
purchased on the day of your visit to the Mill.
Berthed a few steps from Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower II is
a full-scale reproduction of the type of ship that brought the
Pilgrims from England to America in 1620. Even though it's
full-scale, the 106 1/2-foot vessel, constructed in England from
1955 to 1957, is remarkably small. Although little technical
information about the original Mayflower survives, William A.
Baker, designer of the Mayflower II, incorporated the few
references in Governor Bradford's account of the voyage with
other research to re-create the ship as authentically as
Costumed guides provide interesting first-person narratives
about the vessel and voyage, and other interpreters provide a
contemporary perspective. Displays describe and illustrate the
journey and the Pilgrims' experience, and include an exhibit
about 17th-century navigation techniques, and one about the
history of the Mayflower II. Plimoth Plantation (listed later in
this section), which is 3 miles south of the ship, owns and
maintains the vessel. Alongside the ship are museum shops that
replicate early Pilgrim dwellings.
Pilgrim Hall Museum
This is a great place to get a sense of the day-to-day lives
of Plymouth's first European residents. Many original
possessions of the early Pilgrims and their descendants are on
display, including one of Myles Standish's swords, Governor
Bradford's Bible, and an uncomfortable chair (you can sit in a
replica) that belonged to William Brewster. Regularly changing
exhibits explore aspects of the settlers' lives, such as home
construction or the history of prominent families. Among the
permanent exhibits is the skeleton of the Sparrow-Hawk, a ship
wrecked on Cape Cod in 1626 that lay buried in the sand until
1863. (It's even smaller than the Mayflower II.) Through April
2005 you can see the temporary exhibit 300 Years of Medicine in
the Old Colony. Built in 1824, the Pilgrim Hall Museum is the
oldest public museum in the United States.
Allow at least half a day to explore this re-creation of the
1627 Pilgrim village, which children and adults find equally
interesting. Enter by the hilltop fort that protected the
village and walk down the hill to the farm area, visiting homes
and gardens constructed with careful attention to historic
detail. Once you get over the feeling that the whole operation
is a bit strange (we heard someone mention Pompeii), talking to
the Pilgrims is great fun. They're actors who, in speech, dress,
and manner, assume the personalities of members of the original
community. You can watch them framing a house, splitting wood,
shearing sheep, preserving foodstuffs, or cooking a pot of fish
stew over an open hearth, all as it was done in the 1600s, and
using only the tools and cookware available then. Sometimes you
can join the activities -- perhaps planting, harvesting,
witnessing a trial, or visiting a wedding party. Wear
comfortable shoes, because you'll be walking a lot.
The plantation is as accurate as research can make it. The
planners combined accounts of the original colony with
archaeological research, old records, and the history written by
the Pilgrims' leader, William Bradford (who often used the
spelling "Plimoth"). There are daily militia drills with
matchlock muskets that are fired to demonstrate the community's
defense system. However, little defense was needed, because the
Native Americans who lived nearby were friendly to the pilgrims.
Local tribes included the Wampanoags, who are represented near
the village at Hobbamock's Homesite (included in plantation
admission), where staff show off native foodstuffs, agricultural
practices, and crafts.
At the main entrance are two modern buildings that house an
interesting orientation show, exhibits, a gift shop, a
bookstore, and a cafeteria. There's also a picnic area. Call or
surf ahead for information about the numerous special events,
lectures, tours, workshops, theme dinners, and children's and
family programs offered throughout the season.
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