Halifax Home to Myles Standish’s Lightning-Struck Legs
I’m part of the New England Legends Facebook group, and you never know what kind of oddities you’ll find people posting in there. Today, it was a pair of legs. Not just any legs, though – these were the stone legs of the great Myles Standish.
Normally, a photo of a statue’s legs wouldn’t catch my attention, except that’s all there was. Just the legs. No torso, no head, just his legs.
I was intrigued enough to start looking deeper into this, and wondering a) how did Myles Standish’s legs end up in a yard in Halifax, Massachusetts and b) how did they know these were the legs of his statue? After all, I know the Myles Standish statue still crowns the monument that bears his name in the town of Duxbury, on the land on which he once lived.
There he stands, looking eastward over Massachusetts Bay, holding the colony’s charter in his hand. As the military leader of the Pilgrims, he stands watch and represents the Pilgrim’s perseverance and determination to forge a new life for themselves here in the New World.
A little research across multiple websites started cobbling together the history. The cornerstone was laid for the Standish Monument on October 7, 1872, but fundraising issues kept it from being completed until 1898. The 116-foot granite shaft features 125 steps to the top, where the 14-foot statue rises above the tree line.
As it turns out, though, the Standish statue we know atop that monument is the second version to stand there. The first was damaged by a lighting strike on August 26, 1922, which destroyed the upper part of the statue and left just the legs.
The new statue was erected in 1930, and it has stood ever since.
Those legs were later discovered in a Quincy quarry in the 1990s, and brought to the town of Halifax, where they still stand today. Apparently, you can still see scorch marks on the legs from the lightning strike, according to some online reports.
The seven-foot-high granite legs are displayed just off Route 58 (Monponsett Street) at 20 Dwight Street. They’re perched on a section of train tracks, and you can see even as you drive by where these legs, well, stand-ish.
These statuesque legs are not the only weird thing related to the name Myles Standish. There was also that time a hiker discovered this mysterious and creepy Elmo tree deep in the woods of the Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth.