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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Old Man of the Mountain - New Hampshire

Above is a photo of New Hampshire’s “Old Man of the Mountain” rock formation before his loss of face. The inscription on the sign in the foreground is statesman Daniel Webster’s famous quote, “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 in the mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”

It is perhaps this sentiment and not the fluke of a cliff that resembles a face in profile that made the Old Man such an iconic symbol of New Hampshire, enough so that it was put on the obverse of the New Hampshire state quarter. It is also why there was such a sense of loss when nature that hath created also took away, and the symbol was gone when the rock face crumbled.

The location is in the Franconia Notch State Park. Reportedly the first mention recorded of this stone face was by American Indians in the 17th century. The area was first surveyed by Americans of European descent in the early 19th century. In the early 20th century, some eroding was already noted, and some attempts through the years to secure the rock formation were successful, until May 3, 2003, when the rock face crumbled, and the rugged image was gone.

For more information on the Old Man of the Mountain, please see this New Hampshire government website.

Been there? Done that? Got a picture? Let us know.

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