The Legs of Myles Standish – Halifax, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura

Halifax, Massachusetts

The Legs of Myles Standish

A pair of 7-foot legs belonging to the military man of the Mayflower stand jauntily by the side of the road. 

There is a pair of seven-foot legs hanging around Halifax, Massachusetts, seemingly with nowhere to go. They belong to a man of stone who clearly favored fancy boots, but why is he just standing there—cut in half like that—on the side of the road? And who is this poor half-a-man?

Before he lost his top half, the man of stone was a 14-foot tall Myles Standish, military commander of the Mayflower. After retiring from an active career protecting and serving the Pilgrims, Standish spent his retirement years up the road from Halifax in the town of Duxbury. Over there, about ten miles east, there is a grave memorial and a 116-foot stone tower built in his honor.

On top of the tower is a 14-foot granite statue, the second Standish statue the tower has held. The first one went up along with the tower in 1872, but being on the highest hill in town it turned from a memorial tower into a lightning rod. In 1922, poor Myles was struck and his top half was destroyed.

The bottom half, these very fancy-booted legs, were cast aside and disappeared for decades. It wasn’t until the 1990s that they were discovered 20 miles away in Quincy, left in a quarry without a body or head to keep them company.

It took a few years to recast a new statue, but one finally made it up the tower in 1930. The only piece from the original is his extended arm. Those old legs—they were given to Halifax where Standish also had some farm property. They’re waiting patiently for a fitting memorial of their own, or at least a spare head and torso if they can find one.

Update: The legs were moved about 100 feet west to their current location at 20 Dwight Street (seen 6/25/2017).

Know Before You Go

Halifax is about half way between Boston and Cape Cod, in a few miles from the south shore. The legs are on the west side of Monponsett Street, a bit north of Ocean Avenue and south of Twin Lakes Liquors. His lower half is in the scrub along the road, but kept clear and easy to see from the road.