Old Man of the Moutain Historic Site

Location: Franconia, New Hampshire

Webpage: New Hampshire State Historic Site

General Description: The Old Man of the Mountain is also known as the Great Stone Face or The Profile that was a series of five granite cliff ledges cantilevered off the side of Cannon Mountain.  When viewed at the correct angle along the shore of Profile Lake it had the jagged profile of a face.  The granite ledges were arranged horizontally measuring a total of 40 feet tall and 25 feet wide.  It was discovered by a survey team laying out a road through the Franconia Notch around 1805 and immortalized by a quote of Daniel Webster and the short story “The Great Stone Face” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  The profile has been New Hampshire’s state emblem since 1945 and used on the state license plate, stamps, and other memorabilia.  Over time freezing and thawing had opened up cracks in the forehead which they mended with chains in the 1920s.  In 1957 the state used 20 tons of fast-drying cement, plastic covering, and steel rods and turnbuckles, plus a concrete gutter to divert runoff from above to try and save the profile from collapse.  However, on May 3, 2003, the rock pedestal that was supporting all the weight failed and the entire rock face collapsed.  Today the Historic Site consists of a small museum, a paved path to the shores of Profile Lake, and the Old Man of the Mountain Memorial with “Steel Profiles” which, when lined up with the cliff, show visitors what the profile looked like.



1) The Old Man of the Mountain would have been an impressive view along the Interstate or while standing on the shores of Profile Lake.  However, there is not much to see since it collapsed in 2003, although the Steel Profiles help with visualizing what it would have looked like.

ProfileLakeProfileMemorial  WhatsLeft2

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