Pilgrim Monument

Pilgrim Monument

Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum

By Mary Moran | Photos by Pat O’Connell

Pilgrim Monument
Pilgrim Monument

Built between 1907 and 1910, the Pilgrim Monument commemorates the first landing of the Pilgrims in the new world. The Mayflower carrying the Pilgrims from England, landed on November 21, 1620. The landing took place in what is now known as Provincetown Harbor.

Before sailing on to find a more suitable location for agriculture, they spent five weeks exploring Provincetown and the tip of Cape Cod. During this discovery period, they decided that the tip of this wind swept peninsula had sandy soil which is not good for growing crops and it was exposed to the harsh storms that come off the Atlantic. Therefore, they chose to moved on to a more sheltered location, in what is now known as, Plymouth Harbor. In Plymouth, the soil was rich and the contour of the land protected its inhabitants from storms.  Also, there were abundant trees to use as fire wood and to build houses and a fort. However, it was during these five weeks that they spent in Provincetown that the “Mayflower Compact” was first drawn up and signed. It was designed by architect William Thomas Sears, with the inspiration for the document coming from the Torre Del Mangia in Italy.

Pilgrim Monument top
Pilgrim Monument top

The Pilgrim Monument is the tallest all-granite structure in the United States. It is 252 feet tall. When the monument is open, visitors can climb the 116 interior steps to be rewarded with the breathtaking views of
Provincetown and Cape Cod. On a clear day one can see all the way to Sandwich and the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal.

To continue the celebration and remembrance of the first landing of the Mayflower, Provincetown holds an annual lighting of the Pilgrim Monument. This is when 3,100 “landing lights” are lit in a ceremony towards the end of November and shine nightly through January sixth, of the New Year.

At the foot of the Pilgrim Monument is the Provincetown Museum. It was constructed in 1910 and was the first building on Cape Cod to be built for the primary purpose of housing a museum. The intention of the museum builders was to educate the public about Pilgrim and American history and how Provincetown played an important role in our nation’s history. Some of the permanent exhibits focus on; the arrival of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims, Provincetown’s maritime history, the early history of the area’s theater presence, and the interesting account of the building of the Pilgrim Monument. Many other historical items and artifacts representing Provincetown’s rich and diverse past can be found throughout the museum.

The Provincetown Museum’s Mission:

  • “Commemorate the history of the Mayflower Pilgrims, culminating in their arrival and stay in Provincetown Harbor, and the signing of the Mayflower Compact.
  • Collect, preserve, interpret, research, exhibit, and publish archival historical materials and exhibit materials depicting important events of Provincetown History.
  • Maintain the Pilgrim Monument, buildings, and land to accommodate its libraries and
    collections.”

Originally found in 1892 as the Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association, the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum is Cape Cod’s oldest non-profit organization and cultural institution.

OPEN DAILY FROM APRIL 1 ST – NOVEMBER 30 TH

For information on the 2017 lighting ceremony, and for general hours and admission, visit the website .

1 High Pole Hill Road
Provincetown, MA 02657
508-487- 1310


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Emily Dickinson Room Five
Cape Cod’s Emily Dickinson Room Five

While all of our guestrooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day exploring Cape Cod’s museums and history, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.


Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.

Cape Cod’s Long Point Light

Long Point Lighthouse

Long Point Light

By Mary Moran

First settled in 1818, Long Point is located in Provincetown, the furthest town east on Cape Cod. Long Point’s location, right off Provincetown Harbor, contributed to a growing fishing industry in the area. As the industry quickly grew, so did the population, and consequently, so did water traffic coming and going from the busy fishing port. It was eventually decided that a lighthouse located at the harbor’s entrance at Long Point, would prove beneficial to navigation.

Long Point Lighthouse
Long Point Lighthouse (Photo Lori L. Stalteri, Flickr)

In 1826, the first Long Point Light was lit. The light was simply a lantern, sitting 35 feet above water level, which rested on top of a keeper’s dwelling. Its fixed white light could be seen up to thirteen nautical miles away and helped to bring mariners safely into Provincetown Harbor. In 1830, Long Point Light was used as a school building. There were about 60 students enrolled in classes. However, after the Civil War, population in Long Point greatly diminished, which ending the necessity of the make-shift school. The population dwindled down so much that most of the houses were actually floated on barges over to the west end of Provincetown.

Although Long Point was no longer a flourishing fishing community, upkeep on the lighthouse continued and in 1856 a sixth-order Fresnel lens was installed in the bright lantern. However, in 1873, during a routine inspection, it was decided that the lighthouse and keeper’s house should be completely rebuilt. The inspectors feared that an angry storm would wash the old lighthouse away. Thus, $13,000. was appropriated for the project and by 1875 the original Long Point Light was replaced by a 38-foot brick structure, containing a fifth-order Fresnel lens and sporting a fixed bright white light. While construction was under way, a brand new 1 ½ story house was built for a light keeper, and a fog bell, weighing in at 1,200 pounds, was also installed with its own building. In 1904, another building was built, this time for oil. Making Long Point Light a four building property.

As time and technology have advanced, Long Point Light has undergone many upgrades. The light was automated in 1952 along with the installation of a new 300 mm modern optic to replace the outdated Fresnel lens. Thirty years later, and after many more advances in technology, Long Point Light had solar panels installed. The light station did suffer a loss at that time, both the keeper’s house and fog signal building were destroyed in 1982 during the installation of the solar panels.

Today, the Long Point Lighthouse remains a navigational aid to the U.S. Coast Guard. The Cape Cod Chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation controls the restoration and maintenance of the station. The grounds of the Lighthouse are open to the public, accessible by a shuttle boat that runs regularly in the summer. Although the lighthouse itself is private, one can still take a look from the outside and watch the stationary green light shine off into the open sea. For more information on the History of Long Point and areas surrounding, be sure to check out the exhibit in the Provincetown Heritage Museum while visiting the town!

An interesting Long Point Light fact:

Proof of a dedicated light keeper : One of Long Point’s keepers, Thomas L. Chase, once rang the fog bell by hand for a consecutive nine hours in intervals of thirty seconds when the mechanism controlling the ringing tragically broke during a patch of dense fog that was passing through the area.

 


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures on Cape Cod, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs for a relaxing stay before and after your day.


Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.

Whale Watch on Cape Cod Bay

Provincetown’s Whale Watching Dolphin Fleet is reporting that the whales have returned and their numbers have tripled.

The fleet will start running on April 11th. In our five years of innkeeping we haven’t had a guest return from a watch who said that he/she was disappointed. They report, not only seeing whales but seeing cows with their calves. Also, an extra bonus is the playful dolphins that enjoy frolicking in the boat’s bow wave and wake.

The watches last from 3 to 4 hours. It is truly an experience to be remembered. Be sure to take your camera!