The Old Man of the Mountain


In 2000, the US Mint issued the New Hampshire quarter. The image on the back shows the Old Man of the Mountain: a cliff hanging off Cannon Mountain that looked like a bearded man’s profile:


new hampshire quarter


Well, on May 3, 2003, the Old Man of the Mountain collapsed.



What now? Naturally a state committee was formed to decide.



Did they decide to reassemble it? No. (Wise decision.)



Did they decide to commemorate it? Yes, of course. They’ve put up viewscopes that show what it looks like now (not much), and what it used to look like. (Excellent decision.)



But the stupid thing persists. New Hampshire uses it on its highway signs; if you’re on a state road, you see something like this:



new hampshire highway sign



And it’s still on all those quarters, which will be in circulation until Doomsday.



There’s a lesson here somewhere.



Washington is “the evergreen state.” Probably there will be evergreens growing there – some of them, somewhere – even if there’s a catastrophic event. Rhode Island is “the ocean state,” and the ocean ain’t going anywhere.



Here’s an old song (sung by Frank Sinatra) which should have been heeded by the state leaders of New Hampshire:



In time the Rockies may crumble,

Gibraltar may tumble,

They’re only made of clay . . . .





About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

2 Responses to The Old Man of the Mountain

  1. starproms says:

    I didn’t know that had collapsed. I must have missed that news. It’s always sad to lose something precious. Perhaps someone somewhere will find another one one day?

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