Mount Washington and other tidbits

As I traveled around the White Mountains of New Hampshire I picked up a few tidbits about the Live Free or Die State.

  • New Hampshire received Statehood in 1778. It was the 9th State to join the Union.
  • The Capital of New Hampshire is CONCORD.
  • The state’s nickname is “the Granite State”
  • The State’s motto, as mentioned above, is “Live Free or Die”
  • The State Emblem is the Old Man of the Mountain. *
  • State Song: Old New Hampshire and New Hampshire, My New Hampshire
  • Flower: Purple Lilac
  • Wildflower: Pink Lady’s Slipper
  • Tree: White Birch
  • Gem: Smokey Quartz
  • Rock: Granite
  • Mineral: Beryl
  • Bird: Purple Finch
  • Animal: White Tail Deer
  • Insect: Lady Bug
  • Amphibian: Red Spotted Newt
  • Butterfly: Karner Blue
  • Saltwater Fish: Striped Bass
  • Freshwater Fish: Brook Trout
  • Area: 9,304 square miles
  • Greatest Width: 90 miles
  • Greatest Length: 180 miles
  • Coastline: 17.75 miles
  • Lakes and Ponds: 1,300
  • Miles of streams: 40,000
  • Mountain Peaks over 3,000 ft.: 82
  • Highest Peak: Mount Washington @ 6,288 ft.

*The old Man of the Mountain : Faces in stone are not uncommon around the world. New Hampshire also has the  Indian Head. The Old Man first gained it’s notoriety when Daniel Webster wrote:  “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoe makers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”

In 1945 The Old Man’s profile became the state emblem. It can be found on license plates, road signs and the State Quarter.

Since the 1920’s the granite outcropping that formed the face was showing signs of weathering. It would have failed long before its actual demise on May 3, 2003 if not for continual intervention by man over the years. Efforts to save the “Old Man” ranged from chains, to concrete, to steel rods and more but nothing could stop the slow erosion caused by weathering the seasons of freezing and thawing of Northern New England. Eventually that weathering, with gravity’s help, caused the famous icon to collapse. Today there is a marker and museum near the site.

Old Man of the Mountain vs Indian Head: When I was riding around on the Moose tour, the Guide pointed out the Indian Head formation.

According to the guide, the profile of the Indian is created as much by shadows as by actual stone. Because of this the Indian Head formation can appear quite different at different times of day and in different light. The Old Man was a true Stone Formation.

Mount Washington Wind speed record: As you know from the previous post about the cog railway, there is a sign at the summit of Mount Washington stating that the highest wind ever recorded by man was recorded on Mount Washington.

That record stood from 1934 to 1996 when a wind speed of 253 mph was recorded on Barrow Island, Australia during a cyclone. It took the World Meteorological Organization until 2010 to recognize the new record. An even greater wind of 316 mph was recorded in Moore, OK in 1999 during a F5 tornado but that was not recorded at ground level so was disqualified.

That’s more information than I have about my own state! It’s probably more than any of us wanted to know.

New Hampshire also seems to have tons of covered bridges. I haven’t found an actual count of them but they all seem to have a number assigned. So I saw one bridge that was #64 or #65 so I am guessing there are at least that many.


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