Built in 1677, the gambrel-roofed Harlow “Old Fort” House is one of the few remaining 17th-century buildings in Plymouth. It was originally the family residence of settler William Harlow, a farmer, cooper, and town official, who also served as sergeant of the local militia and participated in King Philip’s War. In 1676, Harlow was granted permission to salvage material from the fort-house on Burial Hill to use in the construction of his new dwelling. The house, a local landmark for generations, is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.
In 1920, when the Harlow House was put up for sale by its last private owners, much of Plymouth’s historic waterfront was being razed to prepare for the Tercentenary celebration of the Landing of the Pilgrims. The Plymouth Antiquarian Society recognized the importance of preserving one of the town’s few remaining First Period structures and purchased the Harlow House for $3,000. Under the direction of architect Joseph E. Chandler, the house was restored to show the early hall with its central hearth and wide board flooring. Since 1922, the Harlow House has been in continuous operation as a historic house museum, furnished with early American artifacts to show daily life in colonial New England.
Family-friendly guided tours feature hands-on activities and are offered during public hours or by appointment. Plan at least 30 minutes for your visit.