By Kirstan Lukasak, M.A. in English and Creative Writing Student
It can be seen on license plates, highway signs and even New Hampshire’s state quarter. The Old Man of the Mountain has been a symbol for New Hampshire since it was discovered in 1805 and beyond its devastation in 2003.
Located in Franconia Notch State Park, the Old Man could be seen as a profile jutting out from the side of Cannon Mountain. Five separate granite ledges comprised the silhouette before it fell.
Since the 1920s, several attempts were made to maintain and repair the Old Man. Despite these efforts, the Old Man of the Mountain collapsed during the night of May 3, 2003. Mourners laid flowers at the base of the mountain and even created an online scrapbook to honor and remember him. In 2011 the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza was created along Profile Lake in Franconia Notch to honor the Old Man’s legacy.
Size up the Old Man of the Mountain with some fun facts:
- The Old Man became the official emblem of New Hampshire in 1945. It remains the state symbol.
- The stone that made up the Old Man, called Conway Granite, was created during the Jurassic era, about 200 million years ago.
- The Old Man’s estimated age was 12,000 years.
- The Old Man hung 1,200 feet over Profile Lake.
- The profile measured 40 feet tall and 25 feet wide.
As the late New Hampshire Sen. Daniel Webster (1782-1852) said of the profile, “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”
Please visit http://www.nhstateparks.org/explore/state-parks/old-man-mountain.aspx for more information.