Burial Hill Steps, Plymouth, Massachusetts

The steps leading up to Burial Hill in Plymouth, seen from School Street around 1921. Image from Illustrated Guide to Historic Plymouth Massachusetts (1921).

The scene in 2023:

As explained in more detail in the previous posts, Burial Hill is an important historic site in Plymouth. It was here that the Mayflower Pilgrims built their first fortifications and meetinghouse, and later in the colonial period it became the town’s primary graveyard. It remained in use as a graveyard for many years, but by the late 19th century it had become an important tourist attraction, featuring historical markers and monuments to some of the Mayflower passengers. New paths were also constructed through the graveyard, including granite steps—shown here in these two photos—leading from the town center to the top of the hill.

Today, not much has changed here in this scene. Burial Hill remains a popular destination, both for its role in the early years of the colony, and also for its many 17th, 18th, and 19th century gravestones that stand on the hill. The steps, which were installed sometime around the late 1890s, are still here, and on the left side of both photos is the First Parish Church in Plymouth, which was constructed in 1899.

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