Plymouth Rock is the traditional site of disembarkation of William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony in December 1620. The Pilgrims did not refer to Plymouth Rock in any of their writings; the first known written reference to the rock dates to 1715 when it was described in the town boundary records as "a great rock. " The first documented claim that Plymouth Rock was the landing place of the Pilgrims was made by Elder Thomas Faunce in 1741, 121 years after the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth. From that time to the present, Plymouth Rock has occupied a prominent spot in American tradition and has been interpreted by later generations as a symbol of both the virtues and the flaws of the first English people who colonized New England. In 1774, the rock broke in half during an attempt to haul it to Town Square in Plymouth. The top portion (the fragment now visible) sat in Town Square, was moved to Pilgrim Hall Museum in 1834, and was returned to its original site on the shore of Plymouth Harbor in 1880. Today it is ensconced beneath a granite canopy designed by McKim, Mead & White.