Old Man of the Mountain, Franconia Notch

This is a 35 MM slide that has been digitized - Silhouette of the Old Man of the Mountain profile. Discovered in 1805 the Old Man profile was the main attraction of Franconia Notch until it collapsed on May 3, 2003. This profile was on the side of Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire.
Old Man of the Mountain – 35MM 
 

Old Man of the Mountain, Franconia Notch – On May 3, 2003, New Hampshire's Old Man of the Mountain, also known as "The Great Stone Face" and "The Profile" collapsed. The above image, taken around 2001, is one of only a few images I have left of the Old Man rock profile. This old grainy 35MM slide represents the Old Man I knew over the years. Long live the Old Man!

Discovered and first recorded in 1805 by a survey party, the Old Man of the Mountain profile was a natural rock feature on the side of Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch; it was the main attraction of Franconia Notch for 198 years. According to Moses F. Sweetser in The White Mountains Handbook for Travellers (1873), the two surveyors were Frank Whitcomb and Luke Brooks. However, there are a few different stories about who actually discovered the rock profile*.

American Flag placed at the Old Man profile in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire USA. The old man profile collapsed on May 3, 2003.
American Flag at the Old Man of the Mountain Site in 2005
 

After the Old Man of the Mountain collapsed in 2003, an American Flag started appearing at the Old Man site every year, around May 3. Thank you to the group who is behind this! It's an awesome way of honoring the Old Man of the Mountain, and I hope this annual tradition continues.

Kancamagus Highway (route 112), which is one of New England's scenic byways after a snow storm. Located in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Route 112 Street Sign
 

In 1945, the Old Man of the Mountain rock profile became the official state emblem of New Hampshire. And his profile appears on license plates, street signs, the quarter, and numerous other state related printed material. He will always represent the ”Live Free or Die" state – gone, but not forgotten.

This is a 35 MM slide that has been digitized - Silhouette of the Old Man of the Mountain profile. Discovered in 1805 the Old Man profile was the main attraction of Franconia Notch until it collapsed on May 3, 2003. This profile was on the side of Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire.
Old Man of the Mountain – Black & White 35MM 
 

Over the years, efforts have been underway to preserve the future legacy of the Old Man. The Legacy Fund will help future generations better understand the connection many of us had with the Old Man. To this day, I still look up at the cliffs, a habit I can not seem to break. 

To license any of the above images for usage in publications, click on the image; you can view more images of the Old Man profile here. And if you're interested in the geology of the Old Man rock profile, click here.

Happy image making..


 

*There are numerous stories about the discovery of the Old Man profile. And the most accepted version of the story is the surveyors “discovering” the rock profile in 1805. But it seems very likely the rock profile was known to some long before this date.

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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2 Responses to “Old Man of the Mountain, Franconia Notch”

  1. Scott Joyce

    Hi Erin,

    Thank you so much for sharing these images of Old Man of the Mountain, and all the wonderful photos you share. I appreciate it!

    Reply

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