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Pilgrim Mother Fountain Gardens to be Restored by Eagle Scout

Edited by Mrs. Paul H. Walker

Though it is just across the street from Plymouth Rock and, the Pilgrim Mother Fountain is set back a bit, and has rather tall hedges in front. The setting tends to make tourists pass by, or just glance at in. The ragged and unkept shrubs and flowers that surround the Pilgrim Mother's pedestal do not encourage the taking of pictures.

Boy Scout William Finn, who lives around the corner from the Fountain, hopes that by repairing the garden surrounding the fountain base, he can raise the monument's status and make tourists stop long enough to read the inscriptions and understand the full significane of the silent marble woman.

The Pilgrim Mother statue and fountain were dedicated in 1925 and was a gift from the Daughters of the American Revolution. It was given as a reminder of the heroic women who sailed in the Mayflower to the new world.

"It really is the hidden monument on the waterfront," said Finn, who is 14 years old. "It is neglected in its own hometown. it definately should mean more." Although the monument is a part of the state's Pilgrim Memorial State Park, it was left out of an extensive master revitilization proposal completed by the state last year.

Finn has been a member of Boy Scout Troop 47 for four years. As he began thinking about a project for his Eagle Scout badge, he looked around the town's tourist center for inspiration. "I looked for a project that would have the most impact on people in the community and this was it," he said.

Knowing that the unkept garden and overgrown hedges were detracting from the monument, he contacted a Plymouth horticulturist, Sazanne Lucas, who helped him draw a design for the garden and priced the project. he also contaced herbal experts at Plimoth Plantation and hopes to fill the low garden beds with herbs that were popular during the Pilgrim era. He said the entire garden will be leveled and replanted. Everything will be new. Hedges close to the sidewalk and scraggly boxwood that fence in the garden sections will be removed, as well as old flower beds.

With his horticultural plan in mind, Finn approached the state department of Environmental Management for permission to undertake his project. Their officials gave Finn the go-ahead, and the department will be responsible for maintaining the garden once the work is completed.

Fund raising came next. The Visitor Services Bureau has given him $2,000 in matching funds for money raised in the beginning. Then he contaced the State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who have a particular interest in the monument, having given it in the first place. It was in 1925 that the DAR donated the fountain to Plymouth in celebration of the town's tricentennial.

the nearby Chief Justice Cushing Chapter of the DAR gave Life Scout Finn $200 to get him started. The present regent, Mrs. William B. Migre, suggested to the State Society that they help with the project, and it was so voted at their Spring 1996 state conference.

Regent Migre set up a summer meeting for presentation of the DAR gift, and on 17 July she met with Scout Finn, his mother, and State Historian Mrs. Paul H. Walker (who is also Editor General of the Pilgrim News-Letter). Mrs. Walker gave him a check for $1000 from DAR. State Regent Mrs. Vincent Vialle was in Vermont and asked the State Historian to represent her.

This amount is being matched by the Visitor Services Bureau, so young Finn will ahev an added boost of funds as he starts his planning this July and August. Preperations fpr the work were nearly finished in early summer, and the added monies will enable him to get the plantings in and established before winter. In fact, Finn, with the help of his fellow scouts, hopes to finish the garden by late August.

As part of the project, Finn has also done research pm the monument's history, which he hopes to publish in a small brochure which can be handed out to tourists. In it, he hopes to inform visitors of the uses Pilgrims made of herbs, and what the horticultural meanings of them were.

Life Scout William P. Finn still needs money to complete the project. Anyone wishing to contribute to the work, send a check made out to: "The Pilgrim Mother Fountain Project." Send it to same, P.O. Box 3541, Plymouth, MA 02361.

[from a copy of William Finn's plans and from an article in "The Suburban Enterprise" on 21 July 1996 by Karen White]

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