For generations, the visage of a stony-faced man watched over New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch State Park from the cliff side.
The human profile carved by Mother Nature into the unique rock formation stood as a patient sentinel at Cannon Cliff, becoming an icon for the region, inspiring artists and writers over the years and even playing a significant part in a long-passed-down love story.
But on May 3, 2003, the longtime resident of New Hampshire’s Cannon Cliff lost its hold on the mountainside.
The turnbuckles and rods that had been installed years earlier to fight erosion couldn’t keep the 40-foot-tall icon from collapsing, and the rocks plummeted some 1,200 feet into the valley below.
“When he was up there, he represented a reliantly steady, reassuring presence in a world that was otherwise changing really rapidly,” Brian Fowler, a geologist and president of the