New Hampshire's "Old Man of the Mountain" before and after.
Natural Wonder vanishes overnight!
Thousands of years of history gone forever!
On May 3, 2003, New Hampshire's natural rock formation the "Old Man of the Mountain" was discovered crumbled. Situated high above Franconia Notch, just a few miles from Littleton, this legendary granite face had peered through the clouds for tens of thousands of years. Time and weather finally reclaimed the stone giant. But over the years, the monument has come to symbolize the tough independent spirit of the state's residents - nature's reflection of the motto "Live Free or Die".
The famous stone landmark was formed by a series of geological happenings that began approximately 200 million years ago. Five separate granite ledges arranged themselves horizontally to make the profile, which stretched 20 ft across and 40 ft in height. The Abenaki Indians told legends of "Old Stone Face" during the 17th century. However, it wasn't until 1805, that settlers officially took note of the natural wonder.
Thousands visited annually from across the country and around the world to view the distinctive profile. Including, nineteenth century New Hampshire statesman, Daniel Webster who said:
"Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades. Shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe, jewelers a monster watch, and dentists a gold tooth; but up in Franconia Mountains, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there he makes men!"
For decades it was known that age and weather were having an effect on the icon. From the 1960s, it had been held secure with cables and epoxy. It was the perfect blend of man and nature until spring of 2003, when on that early May morning two state workers discovered the missing profile. An extended period of bad weather, including heavy rain and freezing temperatures had led to the collapse. For the last 200 years, the icon has epitomized the granite state. Now, gone from its perch, the legendary image will be forever remembered on New Hampshire license plates, street signs and of course, the Statehood quarter.