above the Franconia Notch gateway to northern New Hampshire is
The Old Man of the
mountain. This awe-inspiring monument has gazed to the east for
over 2000 years. The old man is an illusion created by 5 ledges
of Conway red granite from the cliff.
It is a massive 40 ft. high and 25 ft. wide perched 1200
ft. above Profile Lake.
Daniel Webster said, “Men hang out their signs indicative of their
respective trades, shoe makers 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."
New Hampshire embraced this colossal profile and made it their state
emblem in 1945. Now 58 years later its reign as the image of The
Granite State and most recognized natural profile of New England has
come to an end. On May 3 Mother Nature handed the old man his
pink slip. After 1000’s of years of standing strong through
the rough winters of the northeast, he finally gave in. Governor
Craig Benson has already said that the profile should be restored
while others have suggested that pieces of the face should be sold to
collectors. No matter what will happen with his remains it will
never be looked upon in the same way. The Old Man was loved and
respected by many and will be greatly missed.
Recently Strange New England (SNE) had just been working on
bringing the many other rock faces of New England to the publics
attention. Very few people realize that many small towns and
counties in our region contain their own natural stone profiles and
monuments. The earlier settlers while traversing the woodlands
in their area first discovered them.
Quickly they became a novelty for people all around.
Realizing the economic potential, the local government began to
advertise their curios of stone on post cards, maps and pamphlets.
It became a battle to see who had the more impressive natural wonders
to attract tourists. In the end New Hampshire’s Old Man was
the winner. As time went on and new forms of recreation came
about many of the other faces vanished into the landscape. The
outdoors was no longer a popular attraction for travelers.
Amusement park, museums and water slides became the highlight
of a holiday.
with the down fall of New Hampshire’s Old Man its time to get
familiar with all of the old candidates and see who comes on top this
time. Hidden within the 6 New England states there are over 55
rock profiles. Some are very impressive and easy to notice.
Others make you wonder what idiot ever saw a face in that slab of
rock. In each issue over the next year, we will take the time to
show a few of the candidate. Photos, a bit of its history
of the site, if any, its dimension and directions to the site
will be provided. At the end of a year, SNE will review all of
the candidates and leave it to you the readers to chose New
England’s NEW premiere rock profile. Don’t look at this as
an election to replace the old man but to give another one of
New England’s great landmarks a chance to enjoy the spotlight.