Organizer of Old Man memorial hopes for more volunteers

Now that the memorial to New Hampshire’s iconic Old Man of the Mountain is complete, an organizer of the project says maintaining it and keeping alive the memory of the fallen granite profile will be paramount.

On Saturday, officials attended a ceremony celebrating the project at Franconia Notch State Park. The last parts were a fishing platform at Profile Lake and a pathway.

The massive, naturally formed granite profile attracted tourists to Franconia Notch for about 200 years before it crumbled in 2003. Since then, a nonprofit legacy fund has created a memorial plaza, featuring seven steel “profilers” that recreate the Old Man’s image.

The legacy fund will turn over the site to the state and will reorganize as a volunteer group called the Friends of the Old Man of the Mountain. It will help maintain the memorial.

“We hope we can find some dedicated people to carry it on,” said Dick Hamilton, a past president of the legacy fund, the Caledonian-Record reported. “Right now, the Friends group has six members and we hope to expand that considerably, especially with young people who have an affinity for the park.”

The memorial also includes a new bridge at the south of the end of the lake, which is stocked yearly with brook trout.

Half of the money for the $150,000 project came from the state, and the rest was raised by the legacy fund through donations and sales of granite stone pavers at the plaza, engraved with names and messages of individuals, families, organizations, and businesses.

Hamilton said about 35,000 people visit the plaza each year between the Memorial Day and Columbus Day holiday weekends.

The image of the Old Man has been a symbol of New Hampshire for generations, appearing on the state quarter, highway signs and license plates. The stone profile was first discovered in 1805.