Remember the Old Man of the Mountain, New Hampshire’s Iconic State Emblem?
When did the Old Man of the Mountain fall?
It was a sad day on Friday, May 2, 2003.
Some hikers, according to newengland.com, heard the sound of crumbling stones overnight but thought nothing of it.
The next day, the beloved landmark that had become an iconic state symbol over the course of a century was gone, much to everyone's shock.
The Old Man of the Mountain, seen on New Hampshire's state emblem since 1945, was no more.
Today the cliff ledges, which resembled the side silhouette of a man's face, remain immortalized in New Hampshire license plates, stamps (including the one below from 1955), road signs, pictures, and tourism memorabilia like postcards and magnets.
But where did the Old Man of the Mountain come from? Just how old and big was it? And why did it collapse?
Where did the Old Man of the Mountain come from?
According to Mental Floss, the Old Man of the Mountain likely came to be as a result of "freezing and thawing of water in cracks of the granite bedrock sometime after the retreat of glaciers."
How old was the Old Man of the Mountain? When was it discovered?
Mental Floss stated that the formation is up to 12,000 years old, but the Old Man of the Mountain wasn't discovered until 1805.
It was at that time, just under 30 years after New Hampshire officially became a state, when Luke Brooks and Francis Whitcomb first took notice of the Old Man according to newenglandhistoricalsociety.com.
Here is an image of the cliffs as they appeared over a century later in 1926.
How big was Old Man of the Mountain?
Earthmagazine.org describes the Old Man as 13.7 meters tall and 9.1 meters wide. It also weighed a whopping 6,530 metric tons, the same as roughly 960 elephants. Wowza.
What happened to Old Man of the Mountain?
According to this 2003 CBS article, natural forces including erosion were to blame for the unfortunate demise of the Old Man despite extensive efforts to protect it.
"With heavy rains and high winds and freezing temperatures, the combination was just right to loosen him up," said state park official Mike Pelchat.
Did they fix the Old Man of the Mountain?
Sadly, there is no repairing the Old Man of the Mountain to what it once was.
And even though the Old Man of the Mountain is no longer where it once dwelled for 12,000 years, its legacy still lives on in the Granite State.
In the years after the collapse, a historic site was opened that's home to the monumental Profile Plaza, gift shop, and museums that teach visitors more about the famous landmark.
You can learn more about the site in the video below.
While taking a trip down memory lane, let's go back a few decades to the '80s. Remember these New Hampshire events, people, and places that were in the spotlight during that time?