TIMELINE: The Old Man of the Mountain, gone 15 years now, will be celebrated Thursday

  • “Old Man of the Mountain,” photographic print, by Charles H. Sawyer, 1928.

  • New Hampshire Gov. Craig Benson looks at Cannon Mountain on Saturday, May 3, 2003, in Franconia after the historic “Old Man of the Mountian” broke off. AP

Monitor staff
Published: 5/2/2018 11:31:00 AM

Fifteen years ago Thursday, a two-phase rumble – one immediately after the other – changed the landscape of New Hampshire in more ways than one.

It was May 3, 2003, when the iconic Old Man of the Mountain, the symbol that represents the Granite State on road signs and quarters, collapsed under its own weight on Cannon Mountain, sending shock waves throughout New England and making people feel as though they’d lost a family member.

A tribute to the Old Man will be held Thursday morning at 11 at Profiler Plaza, off Interstate 93’s Exit 34B, where a memorial has been built to honor the popular tourist attraction. Committee members from the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund are expected to attend. The public is invited.

The memorial features 1,100 paver stones and 10 benches, each made from granite and paid for through private donations. The plaza was dedicated in June 2011.

There are also seven long hockey-stick-shaped pillars called profilers, which help visitors visualize what the Old Man looked like and where he lived since his discovery in the early part of the 19th century.

Meanwhile, the Granite State still mourns.

“Losing the Old Man was as much of a loss as losing my father,” said David Nielsen of Belmont, who replaced his father as the site’s caretaker in the 1980s and’ ’90s. “It’s very difficult to deal with, but we had to move on. It’s hard to think about.”

(Old Man of the Mountain timeline by Olivia Burdette.)

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