Plymouth is known world-wide because of the Pilgrim story and its considerable significance for the history of the United States. Visitors have made their own pilgrimages to Plymouth for hundreds of years to ‘see where it all began’, gaze at Plymouth Rock, and visit Pilgrim Hall and Plimoth Plantation. However, Plymouth isn’t just the Pilgrims. It is a living community where residents still live on the site of the 1620 settlement as well as throughout the entire 103-square-mile township.
The town evolved from a coastal fishing, farming and trading center to become a factory town, attracting immigrants who followed the Pilgrims in a search for a better life, and has grown three-fold since 1950 to be a commuting and commercial community that hosts millions of visitors annually.
Regrettably, images do not survive from the town’s earliest history, but even photographs from the past century or so reveal a very different Plymouth – a Plymouth hard to imagine today. In Plymouth Through Time we focus on what has disappeared to compare that vanished landscape with the vibrant community of today.
Jim Baker was born into an old Plymouth, Massachusetts family, and grew up with the story of Pilgrims and the traditions of the town. He worked at Plimoth Plantation as Director of Research, and as Curator at the Alden House Historic Site in Duxbury. Now retired, he has published several titles on Plymouth and the Pilgrims, including Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday, (2009); A Guide to Historic Plymouth, (2008); Alden House History: A Work in Progress, (2006), and others.