On May 3rd, 2003, New Hampshire’s icon collapsed. The Old Man Of The Mountain, which was located inside Franconia Notch State Park, fell between midnight and 2 a.m. due to the freezing and thawing that comes with being in the White Mountains. The five granite cliff ledges were 40 feet tall, 25 feet wide, and located 1200 feet above Profile Lake. Called “The Stone Face” by the Abenaki, it became a symbol of Mohawk and Abenaki culture.
Twenty years later, the legacy of the Old Man lives on. Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill that will declare May 3rd as Old Man of the Mountain Day in the state of New Hampshire.
Much of the work around the site since the collapse in 2003 has been done by The Old Man Of The Mountain Legacy Fund. They have been the main non-profit organization that has kept the legacy alive. The Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza, which was created by the foundation, was dedicated in June 2011, and fully completed in 2020. They’re hosting a video event today at 11 a.m., which will cover the legacy of the Old Man. For those who missed the event, you can watch the video here.
I visited the site back in October, and it’s a cool place to check out. There are seven steel “profilers” which directly match where the Old Man used to be, allowing you to envision what it used to look like. Some photos from the Plaza are below.
You can watch WMUR’s 2003 report on the day of the collapse below. Long live the Old Man.