Theme Thursday - Salute to the Old Stone Face
This week's theme is Stone.
"Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoe makers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men." Daniel Webster
This is a subject I have always wanted to blog but never found a good ending.
Now there is one. It involves a natural stone profile image of an old man on the side of a mountain. If you were to look at this at the right angle and perspective his image would appear. It was a very popular tourist attraction for centuries. It was so popular that it became the symbol of the State of New Hampshire. The state uses the image on their license plates, state road signs, and it was chosen to be the image on the obverse side of the state quarter. In May 3, 2003 it came crashing down into the valley below. This was never witnessed as it was foggy the morning after the fall. A group of hikers camping in the area reported to hear a rumbling sound that night. When the fog finally lifted he was gone as though he never wanted anyone of us to witness his demise.
Outside Magazine wrote a rather comical tribute to him in the form of an obiturary:
Later Old Dude
The Old Man of the Mountains, one of the most popular tourist attractions in New Hampshire's White Mountains, perished in a rock slide May 3. Born of wind, rain, and erosion about 10,000 years ago he was the most recognizable granite formation in the country - a fact that amused him to the end of his days. "Only humans would gaze on all of nature and fixate on something that looks like them." he once told a biographer. "You wanna see people? I hear there is a tree in Utah that looks like Pierce Brosnan, or hell go buy a mirror."
Explorers of what later became the Franconia Notch State Park (white explorers that is) first discovered the Old Man in 1805; he was admired in the writings of Longfellow and Hawthorne. Still his profile was as fragile as it was striking. Beginning in 1916 park officials deployed everything from steel rods to epoxy to keep the precarious Old Man in place. He was especially adorned by hikers topping out on his brow - which always vexed the Old Man. "Oh that's genius," he frequently told them, "strut on my face while I'm hanging here with some cables and some glue, Why not leap up and down Einstein? 'Take only photographs?' my ass!"
The Old Man could be prickly on the topic of his fellow rock formations. He dismissed the sculptured faces on Mount Rushmore as " Backstreet Boys without the wit." Of Turk's Head Rock near Devils Lake in Wisconsin he said, "it looks a lot like a head - as long as you're whacked out on grain alcohol."Only the cryptic "face" on Mars he held any charm for him, "now that's a face I wouldn't mind squinting at in the morning," he said, "Daddy like!"
The Old Man is survived by talus, scree and one granddaughter, Mrs. Brenda Oldman Hodges, of Poughkeepsie, New York.
Image overlay - then and now
Recently the Old Man was been given a new lease on life. He will be memorialized in a special park below the area where he "hung" around. Immediately after the fall, the State of New Hampshire instituted a memorial fund. Finally after 7 years there is enough money to go forward to construct a fitting memorial to the Old Man. The features include a set of seven "profilers" that when a visitor stands in a certain place the image of the Old Man aligns perfectly on the same mountain cliff where he once hung. There will be a set of five massive granite stones, each bigger than a Stonehenge stone, that when viewed from a platform will line up to show the image of the Old Man. There were originally five massive stones that made up the profile. Finally there will be an entrance archway to the park made of granite slabs and cables to honor the volunteer caretakers of the Old Man. Ground was broken for the project on July 17, 2010. A fitting tribute to a "wise" 10,000 year old man!