Saturday, July 31, 2010

Old Man of the Mountain, Cannon Mountain, Franconia, NH

Here I am again, this time from Franconia, New Hampshire.  This shot of the Old Man of the Mountain, the profile in back of me, was taken in 2002, a year before its collapse on May 3, 2003, despite valiant efforts to save it.

The Old Man of the Mountain was a formation created by the ice age. It was originally discovered in 1805 by Francis Whitcomb and and Luke Brooks, part of a Franconia surveying crew.

It was initially made famous by New Hampshire native Daniel Webster who wrote about the site.  In 1832, Nathaniel Hawthorne visited Franconia and in 1850 used the profile in his story, The Great Stone Face.

In 1945, the Old Man became the official symbol of New Hampshire, appearing on everything from license plates to state route signs.  The profile also showed up on the back of the 2000 New Hampshire state quarter.

New Hampshire kept up the special viewing areas along Interstate 93 in Franconia Notch State Park even after its collapse in the middle of the night.  It all started in the 20's with a crack in his forehead.  Chains were used to hold it place.  In 1958, the Old Man undergoes further repair work.  In 1987,  Niels Nielson becomes the official caretaker since working as the caretaker unofficially since 1965. His son, David will become the last caretaker of the Old Man before its collapse in 2003.

Here is a shot of what the Old Man looks like today with an image of the profile superimposed over it. 

The Old Man of the Mountain museum, which used to be at the Old Man viewing area, has moved its memorabilia to the Cannon Mountain tramway building in Franconia Notch where you can see a small model of the new memorial to the Old Man.  The ground breaking for the new memorial was begun in June of this year.  More about this can be read at this Wikipedia site

As always, please look for references at the bottom of the page.


  1. What an interesting story, Clyde! You and your humans go to the most interesting places. If I were to ever be able to make it to New Hampshire, I will certainly have to check out these places. The scenery is amazing.

  2. Again you have provided us with some interesting history, Clyde! I was aware of the Old Man of the Mountain before, but never knew the whole story until now. NH is such a beautiful place!!