When did the Old Man of the Mountain fall?

It was a sad day on May 3, 2003.

Hikers, according to newengland.com, heard the sound of crumbling stones overnight, but thought nothing of it.

The next day, the Old Man of the Mountain – which had become an iconic state symbol over the course of a century – was gone.

The cliff ledges, which resembled the side silhouette of a man's face, are now immortalized in New Hampshire license plates, stamps (including the one below from 1955), road signs, pictures, and tourism memorabilia like postcards and magnets.

Stone Face
Getty Images/iStockphoto

But where did the Old Man of the Mountain come from? Just how old and big was it? And why did it collapse?

Where did the Old Man of the Mountain come from?

According to Mental Floss, the Old Man of the Mountain probably formed as a result of "freezing and thawing of water in cracks of the granite bedrock sometime after the retreat of glaciers."

How old was the Old Man of the Mountain? When was it discovered?

Mental Floss stated that the formation is up to 12,000 years old, but the Old Man of the Mountain wasn't discovered until 1805.

It was at that time, just under 30 years after New Hampshire officially became a state, when Luke Brooks and Francis Whitcomb first noticed the Old Man, according to newenglandhistoricalsociety.com.

Here is an image of the cliffs as they appeared over a century later in 1926.

How big was Old Man of the Mountain?

Earthmagazine.org describes the Old Man as 13.7 meters tall and 9.1 meters wide. It also weighed a whopping 6,530 metric tons, the same as 960 elephants. Wowza.

What happened to Old Man of the Mountain?

According to this 2003 CBS article, natural forces like erosion were to blame for the demise of the Old Man, despite extensive efforts to protect it.

"With heavy rains and high winds and freezing temperatures, the combination was just right to loosen him up," said state park official Mike Pelchat.

Did they fix the Old Man of the Mountain?

Sadly, there is no repairing the Old Man of the Mountain to what it once was.

And even though the beloved landmark is no more, its legacy still lives on in the Granite State.

In the years after the collapse, a historic site was opened. It's now home to the monumental Profile Plaza, gift shop, and museums teaching visitors more about the famous landmark.

You can learn more about the site in the video below.

While taking a trip down memory lane, let's go back a few decades to the '80s. Remember these New Hampshire events, people, and places that were in the spotlight during that time?

10 Things You Totally Remember If You Lived in New Hampshire In the 1980s

If you lived here in New Hampshire in the 1980's, there's no way that you didn't know about these events, people and places. They were part of our lives and some, still are. Sadly a few are no longer with us, but enjoy this list. I know I enjoyed remembering all these things from back in the day.

Gallery Credit: Sarah Sullivan

These Items Will Give You Nostalgia for Yoken's Restaurant in Portsmouth

Take a look back at these Yoken's family restaurant items from a menu to the famous treasure chest and "Thar She Blows" whale sign.

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