By Rep. Annie Kuster
I rise today in remembrance on the 10th anniversary of the collapse of New Hampshire's iconic symbol, the Old Man of the Mountain. Born in fire and sculpted by ice, the Old Man of the Mountain has long been recognized as the symbol of New Hampshire and its people.
The Old Man was completed at the recession of the last ice age sometime during the 8th millennium B.C. The first recorded viewing was in 1805 by Francis Whitcomb and Luke Brooks as they were surveying Franconia Notch. Niels Nielsen and his son David, longtime guardians of the Old Man, spent years protecting him from vandalism and keeping his fragile countenance secured to the mountain. The Old Man has had many honors, including his profile featured on a postage stamp and on New Hampshire's state quarter.
(Today) at 11:30 a.m. in Franconia State Park near where the Old Man clung to the mountain, people will gather in Profile Plaza on the shores of Profile Lake in remembrance of that day in May 10 years ago. We thank Dick Hamilton and the people of The Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund, a volunteer nonprofit group, charged with creating a memorial to the Old Man.
They built a fitting monument of seven steel "profilers," when viewed at the correct angle, allow viewers to see the profile as it appeared on the side of the mountain. The sale of more than 700 granite pavers, inscribed with the names of donors, helped to finance the construction of the plaza and monument.
While the Old Man of the Mountain has succumbed to the ages and lies at the base of the mountain amongst the stone of his creation, I am reminded of why we honor him.
In the words of Daniel Webster, "Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoemakers hang out a giant 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."