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Old Man of the Mountain Historic Site


The Old Man of the Mountain, nicknamed the Great Stone Face or Profile, was located in Franconia Notch State Park. Discovered in 1805, the rocks that made up the profile collapsed on May 3, 2003. Before his collapse, The Old Man of the Mountain could be viewed year-round from two different viewing areas on I-93 in Franconia Notch State Park. On the northbound side of the highway there is a pull-off and on the southbound side take Exit 34B and follow signs.

The Profile was a natural rock formation that was formed by a series of geologic happenings that began an estimated 200 million years ago. It hovered majestically 1,200 feet above Profile Lake. The Old Man was made of five separate granite ledges arranged horizontally to form a man’s profile. From chin to forehead, the Profile measured about 40 feet and was 25 feet wide.

On May 3, 2003, the Old Man of the Mountain collapsed during the night hours. The outpouring of public opinion was strong for not trying to rebuild the profile. The state geologist also determined that the mountainside was too unstable. A Governor-appointed Task Force decided that the Old Man would not be rebuilt. Hundreds of people have sent e-mails, pictures, and letters detailing their sentiments and memories of the Old Man of the Mountain. An online Scrapbook was created to provide an outlet for the many condolences and remembrances.

Look north a short distance from where the Profile was to see a natural rock formation silhouetted against the skyline resembling the barrel of a cannon poking out from the parapet of a fortress. The shape of this rock formation gives Cannon Mountain its name.

Daniel Webster once said:
"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."

Additional Information and Resources

Old Man Scrapbook
Old Man Memorial Fundraising Effort to Kick Off at the Mount Washington (February 27, 2007) pdf document
Old Man of the Mountain Memorial Design Unveiled (February 7, 2007) pdf document

 

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