APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2003-05 > 1051996531
Subject: [APG] New Hampshire's "Old Man of the Mountain" Collapse
Date: Sat, 3 May 2003 17:15:31 EDT
The Old Man is gone
New Hampshire has lost its profile
By JOSEPH W. McQUAID
NEW HAMPSHIRE has lost the irreplaceable. The Old Man of the Mountain was
more than an image on our license plates and road signs and, yes, every day
on the front pages of The Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News.
The famous profile in Franconia State Park was discovered in 1805. (Bob
LaPree/Union Leader file photo)
If any single thing symbolized all that is New Hampshire, it was that
great stone profile. It summed up the state’s breathtaking natural beauty, to
be sure. With a crimson carpet below it in the fall, with a white cloak
gathered about its shoulders in winter, or outlined by a stunningly blue
summer sky, the Old Man marked and measured our seasons.
But it was much more. It stood proud among our White Mountains and showed
a strong, unshakeable demeanor in good times or bad. It bespoke of the same
rugged independence and freedom that Gen. John Stark meant with his “Live
free or die” toast to his Revolutionary War comrades.
It is somehow fitting that, apparently, no human beings were witness to
the Old Man’s end. Thank God there was no advanced warning, no time for “
reality TV” or a macabre “televised countdown to the end.” It is comforting
to think that his was a death with dignity and solitude.
But not in silence. Oh, no. We would like to think that the Old Man came
crashing down with a great shudder and roar that split the spring night in
Franconia Notch and caused Echo Lake to carry news of his demise back, back
to Stark and Webster and Ethan Allan Crawford and the rest of those for whom
he truly was a sign that here, God made men.