The Old Man Rises Again (Sort of)

Do you remember where you were when the Old Man of the Mountain bit the dust? It’s pretty much guaranteed that most New Hampshirites do.

My home state is beautiful, with craggy mountains and abundant forests, and full of history — but besides the presidential primaries and our most famous celeb export Adam Sandler (he was actually born in Brooklyn, but no matter), there’s not a ton going on. The Old Man’s storied face is on our quarters, license plates, and road signs, and his demise in May 2003 was big news. (My parents had just picked me up from the airport after three months in Australia, and when we heard reports on the radio, I thought it was a joke.) Franconia Notch seemed so empty without him. RIP.

That’s why I was happy to read Charlie Pierce’s update on the ongoing efforts of the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund in the recent “Makover” issue (appropriate) of the Globe Magazine. Ipswich sculptor Shelly Bradbury and her partner, toy inventor Ron Magers, came up with the design for the three-part monument, spread along the pathway from the base of Cannon Mountain to the shore of Profile Lake. (Nothing can be built on the side of the mountain where the actual face jutted out; the granite is too unstable.) The first phase — a series of profilers, or bent steel posts — is already completed and funded by private donations to the Legacy Fund. When visitors look at a profiler from just the right angle, they’ll be able to see the outline of the Old Man on the ledge above.

So … it’s a little hard to explain. This video should help:



I’m excited to see an old friend. And to finally retire my husband’s T-shirt:

Photo by Courtney Hollands


(Yes, this shirt says “Never Forget Our Fallen Hero” around a photo of the Old Man, and yes, this photo was taken in the Comcast Center’s parking lot before an Aerosmith show. Our pride runs deep.)