Featuring two separate monuments originally commissioned by the Pilgrim Society, the park includes a six-acre coastal area on Plymouth Harbor and another eleven-acre inland park in the center of town. The waterfront park houses Plymouth Rock, the storied landing point of the Mayflower in 1620. Mayflower II, a replica of the ship, is anchored nearby. The park also includes the "Pilgrim Mother" fountain by Paul O. Jennwein and garden, erected in 1920 by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The top of Plymouth Rock, cleaved from a larger boulder in the harbor, is housed in a portico designed in 1920 by McKim, Mead and White for the Tercentenary Celebration of the landing. Arthur Shurcliff was likely involved at this time when the wharves were redesigned and the sandy shoreline was stabilized with riprap, open lawn was installed, and pedestrian paths created. A year later, sculptor Cyrus Dallin made repairs to the Rock and installed his bronze statue Massasoit on Coles Hill overlooking the harbor. Today several other memorials are nearby.
For the companion inland park, the National Monument to the Forefathers was sited on one of the highest points in town. Dedicated in 1889, the 81-foot-tall granite monument was designed by Hammatt Billings to represent the pilgrims’ ideals, with the central figure facing Plymouth, England.Pilgrim Memorial State Park was donated to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1920. Coles Hill was named a National Historic Landmark in 1961. Plymouth Rock was listed in the National Register in 1970 and the National Monument to the Forefathers was listed in 1974.