March 6, 2012

0138 UNITED STATES (New Hampshire) – The former Old Man of the Mountain

Quite small (the 5th least extensive) and not very populated (the 9th least populous), stuck to the border with Canada, with a short coastline to the Atlantic, and cramped between Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine, New Hampshire was the first post-colonial sovereign nation in the Americas (1776), and one of the original thirteen states that founded the U.S. Concord is the state capital, while Manchester is the largest city, with only 110.000 inhabitants. Even if the state is known internationally for the New Hampshire primary, the first primary in the U.S. presidential election cycle, I would rather keep in my mind other three things about it:

- in Peterborough was founded the first public library in the world supported with public funds (1833)
- in Cornish lived since 1953 until his death, in 2010, J.D. Salinger, the brilliant author of the novel The Catcher in the Rye
- in Portsmouth was born in 1942 Ronnie James Dio, one of the world's most influential heavy metal vocalist

New Hampshire was also the home of the rock formation called the Old Man of the Mountain, a face-like profile in Franconia Notch (a pass through the White Mountains), until the formation fell apart in May 2003. The first recorded mention of the Old Man was in 1805, when someone noticed that viewed from the north, the cliff appeared to be the jagged profile of a face. The profile has been New Hampshire's state emblem since 1945.

Throughout the time freezing and thawing opened fissures in the Old Man's forehead, so that by the 1920s the crack was wide enough to be mended with chains. In 1957 the state legislature passed a $25,000 appropriation for a more elaborate weatherproofing, using 20 tons of fast-drying cement, plastic covering, and steel rods and turnbuckles, plus a concrete gutter to divert runoff from above. Despite the measures taken, the formation collapsed to the ground on May 3, 2003. Many considered replacement with a replica, but, as is natural, the idea was rejected. Other proposals included one from architect Francis Treves, which consists of it envisioned a walk-in profile made of 250 panels of structural glass attached to tubular steel framework and concrete tower, connected by a tram, rim trail or tunnel through to the cliff wall at the original site.

The stamp, issued on January 20, 2012, is part of the Scenic American Landscapes series, and features a photograph by James Amos of the beautiful countryside of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. An Amish buggy travels along a country road, passing one of the county’s iconic farms. Amos says, "I have always enjoyed the bucolic and peaceful nature of Lancaster County. This was a spot that I especially liked, and I remember returning to it several times."

sender: karenshurley (postcrossing)
sent from Manchester (New Hampshire / USA), on 13.02.2012
photo: Bob Grant


  1. *postcard catches my attention*
    *scans through my postcards album*

    Yep! I've got a similar card from September 19, 2011! Too bad it collapsed :(

    Your newest follower,
    Maria from Manila, Philippines