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Granite State Stories: Old Man spotted in Franconia Notch

  • The earliest known image of the Old Man of the Mountain, engraved by N. and S. S. Jocelyn, after a sketch by “a gentleman of Boston,” from the American Journal of Science and Arts, 1828. New Hampshire Historical Society


Monday, September 10, 2018

About 1805, members of a surveying party working and camping in Franconia Notch noticed the remarkable rock formation that later became known as the Old Man of the Mountain.

Although these early settlers, who were laying out a road, were the first Europeans to spot the profile of the great stone face, presumably the Native Americans who inhabited the region for thousands of years were aware of the natural feature.

News of “the profile” spread by word of mouth at first, but by 1826 descriptions of it appeared in print and it had acquired the title of “Old Man of the Mountain.”

Its popularity drew visitors to Franconia Notch, and by the 1840s the Old Man had become a major tourist attraction, fueling the growth of the New Hampshire’s tourism industry.

New Hampshire
Historical Society