FRANCONIA — Eight years and one week after New Hampshire's Old Man of the Mountain collapsed, a series of profilers that will allow visitors to see the granite icon on the hillside where he had perched were installed on Monday.
"This is a big day, an historic day," said Dick Hamilton, president of the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund, which has worked for the past eight years to develop a fitting memorial to New Hampshire's state symbol. "I am absolutely thrilled, overjoyed. I can't tell you how fabulous this is."
The profilers, stainless rods fitting with what appear to be bumps on the metal, recreate the visage of the Old Man of the Mountain when visitors stand in a certain place and line those bumps in the correct position.
"The whole objective is to recreate the experience," said sculptor Ron Magers of Essex, Mass.
Magers won a national contest sponsored by the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund in its search for a way for Granite Staters to remember the iconic profile.
"It's not a monument you just look at, it's something that you actually have be in the right place to see," Magers said, "just as you had to be in the right place to see the Old Man."
The installation of the profilers is part of the first phase of the monument project. Next week, crews will begin to lay the first of more than 200 engraved granite pavers, which people from all over the country have purchased in the past year.
Money raised from the sale has helped to fund the memorial. Pavers are still available and orders received by May 20 will be laid in time for next month's dedication of the project.
"There has not been one dime of taxpayers' money that has gone into this project," Hamilton said.
The Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza will be dedicated at noon on June 12. On that day, police, firefighters and veterans from around New England will take part in the Watch Over Us motorcycle ride from Laconia to North Conway, which will include a stop at the Old Man for the dedication.
Presentation of the seventh annual Profile Awards will follow at 2 p.m., at the Peabody Lodge, Cannon Mountain.
For more information about the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund and its monument project, visit NHOldMan.org.
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