The Plimoth Grist Mill
Nestled alongside bucolic Town Brook, and just a short walk from the waterfront and Mayflower II, the Plimoth Grist Mill tells the story of the grist (corn grinding) mill built by the Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony. After more than a decade of laboriously grinding corn by hand in wooden mortars, the colony authorized the construction of a water-powered corn grinding mill on Town Brook in 1636. Colonist John Jenney was given permission to run the mill and to take a portion of the corn that was brought for grinding as a payment or “toll.” After his death in 1644 John Jenney left the mill to his wife Sarah. Sarah, and later their son Samuel, ran the mill until 1683.
Our mill is a reproduction of the 1636 mill, and was completed in 1970. Many of the parts (the stones, spindle, and stone furniture) are from the early 1800s and were salvaged from a mill near Philadelphia, PA.
The Grist Mill Experience
Open on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, the Plimoth Grist Mill is a working mill that uses water power to mill organic corn into delicious, freshly ground cornmeal on our 200 year old French Buhr millstones.
During your visit, you can explore the mill and learn about the importance of mills in the 1600s, the process of grinding corn, and the ecology of the Town Brook area, including the annual herring run. Outside the mill you’ll see how water diverted from Town Brook provides power for the 14 foot diameter waterwheel. Inside, on the grinding floor, you’ll see the 54 inch diameter bed and runner stones, and learn how they work together to mill or cut the corn into finer and finer pieces. Downstairs, you’ll come face to face with the mill’s gears, including the massive face gear and the smaller wallower or lantern gear. Working together, these gears translate the vertical power of the water wheel to the horizontal power needed to turn the runner stone.
On days when we are milling corn, watch as the miller orchestrates the water wheel, gears, and stones to turn out delicious, fragrant cornmeal. Hear the corn cracking and feel the rumble as the waterwheel and gears work together to turn the 2500 pound runner stone. To check if we will be milling corn on the day of your visit, please call 508-746-1622 ext. 8242.
The Plimoth Grist Mill has a lot of stories to tell! Visit our exhibit gallery, where you can grind corn in a mortar and pestle, sift corn to make cornmeal, experiment with a water wheel and learn how to tie a miller’s knot.
Shop for Cornmeal and Sampe
Finish up your mill experience with a trip to our mill museum shop where you can buy our freshly ground, organic cornmeal and sampe and other culinary treats, as well as books and souvenirs. If you can't visit the Plimoth Grist Mill or need to replenish your cornmeal supply, order online and have Plimoth Grist Mill cornmeal delivered to your door!