Time to replace the Old Man of the Mountain with… a glass sculpture?
That is the idea behind a proposal from award winning architect Francis D. Treves (of Princeton, NJ). His plan is to re-create the Old Man with some 250 glass panels that would also allow visitors to walk inside the structure. Sounds technically impressive. But is it a fitting tribute to a beloved natural structure?
I’ve had a hard time digging up images or details of the plan, but here is what I have found so far:
I can understand why there is a desire to replace (or honor, some would say) the Old Man… the rock formation became a brand for the state, making its way onto license plates, stamps and even the back of the New Hampshire version of the US quarter. And businesses in the area have reported severe drops in revenue since it fell off the mountain in 2003. This glass sculpture, or any of the other proposed replacements/memorials, would ideally bring visitors back.
But of course this topic raises strong emotion and opinion. The New Hampshire House has already shot down a few proposals, reportedly due to cost concerns. And many people, including a lot of outdoor enthusiasts, have scoffed at the very idea of something artificial being crafted in such a natural environment. (Apparently all of the cables, bolts and epoxy that held the Old Man in place for several years were ok though…)
Ultimately it just feels like it is time for everyone to move on. The Old Man was an amazing natural formation, they did their best to make it last, and we enjoyed it while it did. There are a lot of a great things about New Hampshire that can, and should, define it. Let’s focus on those.