Town Brook (Massachusetts)

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Town Brook
Town Brook Plymouth MA.jpg
Town Brook, near Plymouth Harbor
Origin Billington Sea
Mouth Plymouth Harbor
Basin countries United States
Length 1.5 mi (2.4 km)

Town Brook is a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) stream in Plymouth, Massachusetts that provided drinking water to the Pilgrims who made their homes adjacent to the brook on Leyden Street in Plymouth. Town Brook's headwaters are the Billington Sea, a 269-acre (109 ha) freshwater pond. The brook passes through numerous small ponds, including Deep Water Pond and Jenny Pond. It also passes by the Jenney Grist Mill and the Brewster Gardens before emptying into Plymouth Harbor. A nature trail runs along the entire length of the brook.


The Pilgrims first made landfall at the tip of Cape Cod, but were reluctant to settle there due to the lack of fresh water. They sailed across to the mainland, and observed what one person described as “a very sweet brook,” fed by cool springs of “as good water as can be drunk.” [1] At the brook’s mouth was a salt marsh, where the colonists could anchor their boats. The Pilgrims built their houses near the fresh water supply.

The brook led to upstream spawning grounds for river herring. It also attracted eels and fresh water fowl. Squanto, an Indian interpreter, taught the colonists to use the fish to fertilize their corn crop. The first corn mill was built along the brook.[1]

John Jenney arrived in the Plymouth Colony from Leyden in 1623, and built a grist mill on Town Brook in 1636.[2] The original mill burned down in 1837. The banks of the brook were used for industrial purposes (at times powered by the brook's waters) well into the 20th century.


Eleven roads pass over Town Brook, including two major highways.

  • Little Pond Road
  • Route 3 (Pilgrims Highway)
  • Billington Street
  • Driveway to 96R Billington Street
  • Off Billington Street
  • Newfield Street
  • Willard Place
  • Spring Court
  • Pleasant Street
  • Route 3A (Main Street Extension)
  • Water Street


Two small streams flow into Town Brook in downtown Plymouth, but they are not named.

Nearby Attractions[edit]

Many attractions are near Town Brook, especially since Plymouth is of such historical importance. This is a list of the attractions within one quarter of a mile from Town Brook.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°57′24″N 70°39′44″W / 41.95667°N 70.66222°W / 41.95667; -70.66222