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New Hampshire State Emblem

Old Man of the Mountain   Adopted: 1945
New Hampshire state emblem
Old Man of the Mountain (between 1890 and 1901)
Courtesy: Library of Congress

The Old Man of the Mountain was a rocky outcropping on Cannon Mountain, White Mountains that, when viewed from the floor of Franconia Notch, resembled the profile of a man.

A design for an official state emblem was adopted in 1945. It described an emblem that included the Old Man of the Mountain as its central figure.

The Old Man of the Mountain appears on license plates, state highway signs, state police cars, drivers' licenses, and "all printed or related material issued by the state and its subdivisions relative to the development of recreational, industrial, and agricultural resources of the state."

(Hutchinson)

In 2000, the Old Man appeared on the New Hampshire's official state quarter.

First reported in 1805, the Old Man of the Mountain served as an inspiration, guardian of the environment, and New Hampshire tourist attraction for almost two hundred years until its fatal collapse on May 3, 2003.

An outpouring of sympathy for the granite state followed, including Vermont Concurrent Resolution No. 25 "Expressing sympathy to the state and citizens of New Hampshire on the untimely death of the Granite State’s famed Old Man of the Mountain."

Thirty ideas were submitted to honor the fallen Old Man, one being finally accepted.

Seven years after "the fall," on June 7, 2010, ground was broken for the Old Man memorial overlooking Profile Lake in Franconia Notch.

Phase one of the project consists of seven profilers at the edge of Profile Lake. By standing in the correct spot behind the profiler and looking up toward where the old man used jut out from the rocks, his image is put right back in the very location where he lived for centuries, a spot that attracted million of tourist to this area every year.

(Sullivan)

Two additions, phases two and three, were to be added to the site; a sculpture, a series of two-story stones that would line up to simulate the Old Man; and an archway that remembered those who dedicated their lives to him.

Phase one of the project was completed in 2011. It consisted of a series of steel rods pointing at Cannon Mountain that, when viewed from a certain angle, show an outline of the profile against the cliff.

On April 24, 2013, ten years after "the fall," the Old Man Legacy Fund announced that phases two and three could not be completed due to a failure to raise the needed funds.

On May 3, 2013, Governor Maggie Hassan released the following proclamation:

The State of New Hampshire
By Her Excellency
Margaret Wood Hassan, Governor

A Proclamation
OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN REMEMBRANCE DAY
MAY 3, 2013

WHEREAS, The Old Man of the Mountain was discovered on the side of Cannon Mountain in 1805; and

WHEREAS, Nathaniel Hawthorne made the Old Man of the Mountain famous with his book, "The Great Stone Face" in 1850; and

WHEREAS, The Old Man of the Mountain was declared the New Hampshire State Symbol in 1947; and

WHEREAS, Millions of people from all over the world came to New Hampshire to view the Old Man of the Mountain; and

WHEREAS, The Old Man of the Mountain was an important attraction for tourism, as well as a beloved icon and source of pride for the people of New Hampshire; and

WHEREAS, The collapse of the Old Man of the Mountain occurred on May 3, 2003 and on the tenth anniversary of the collapse there will be a moment of silence to reflect upon the symbolism of the Old Man of the Mountain and all of the ideals that his profile represented;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARGARET WOOD HASSAN, GOVERNOR of the State of New Hampshire, and the Executive Council, do hereby proclaim MAY 3, 2013 as OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN REMEMBRANCE DAY in the State of New Hampshire.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Concord this 1st day of May, in the year of Our Lord two thousand and thirteen, and the independence of the United States of America, two hundred and thirty-seven.

Margaret Wood Hassan
Governor

Raymond S. Burton
Executive Councilor

Colin Van Ostern
Executive Councilor

Christopher T. Sununu
Executive Councilor

Christopher C. Pappas
Executive Councilor

Debora B. Pignatelli
Executive Councilor


Sources...

Hutchinson, Robert. The Old Man of the Mountain. San Francisco: Browntrout Publishers, Inc., 2003. Print.
Sullivan, Adam. "Groundbreaking for N.H.'s Old Man memorial." WCAX-TV Burlington, Vermont. WCAX-TV Burlington, Vermont, 24 Jun 2010. Web. 3 May 2013.
Associated Press. "NH abandons planned additions to Old Man of the Mountain memorial plaza." The Boston Globe. The Boston Globe, 24 Apr 2013. Web. 3 May 2013.
New Hampshire Statutes. New Hampshire General Court. 2009. 13 April 2009 <http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/nhtoc.htm>
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.


Additional Information

New Hampshire state emblem
Old Man of the Mountain, Franconia Notch State Park
Photograph by Kindra Clineff

State Emblem: New Hampshire Almanac compiled by the New Hampshire State Library.

Old Man of the Mountain Historic Site: New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation.

Old Man of the Mountain: Photographs from David Metsky's "Hike the Whites" website.

Old Man of the Mountain: Mount Washington Observatory.

The Old Man of the Mountain Memorial: The Official Website of New Hampshire State Government.

Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund: The Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund was formed to create a lasting legacy of remembrance for New Hampshire's most famous symbol, the granite profile in Franconia Notch, which watched over New Hampshire until May 3, 2003..

State Emblems: Complete list of official state emblems.

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official New Hampshire state symbols.

The Old Man of the Mountain
The Old Man of the Mountain
by Robert Hutchinson

The Old Man of the Mountain, by Robert Hutchinson. 48 pages. Browntrout Publishers (May 22, 2003)

The Old Man of the Mountain is a timely photographic memorial to New Hampshire's beloved emblem, the colossal profile of natural granite in the White Mountains that suddenly collapsed on May 3, 2003. Many devoted friends of the Old Man have generously contributed to this remembrance. The natural and human history of the Old Man are reviewed in a lively text by geologist Robert Hutchinson.