The site where the Pilgram landed is called the Plymouth Rock, the actual rock is said to have been passed from generation to generation. When plans were afoot to build a wharf at the Pilgrim's landing site in 1741, a 94 year old Elder of the church named Thomas Faunce, identified the precise rock his father had told him was the first solid land the Pilgrims set foot upon. The rock is located about 650 feet from where it is generally accepted that the initial settlement was built.
When the townspeople of Plymouth decided to move the rock in 1774, the rock was split into two halves, and it was decided to leave the bottom portion behind at the wharf and the top half was relocated to the town's meeting-house. In 1859 the Pilgrim Society began building a Victorian canopy, designed by Hammatt Billings, at the wharf over the lower portion of the rock. Following its completion in 1867, the top of the rock was moved from Pilgrim Hall back to its original wharf location in 1880. The date "1620" was carved into the rock. In 1920, the rock was relocated and the waterfront rebuilt to a design by noted landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff, with a waterfront promenade behind a low seawall, in such a way that when the rock was returned to its original site, it would be at water level. The care of the rock was turned over to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and a new very sober Roman Doric portico were build for viewing the tide-washed rock protected by gratings. During the Rock's many journeys throughout the town of Plymouth numerous pieces of the Rock were taken, bought and sold. Today approximately 1/3 of the top portion remains. It is estimated that the original Rock weighed 20,000 lb (9,100 kg). Although some documents indicate that tourists or souvenir hunters chipped it down, no pieces have been noticeably removed since 1880.