Nobody knows exactly when the Old Man of the Mountain crumbled. On May 2, 2003, you could look up and see his face protruding from a New Hampshire mountain into the skyline. And the next day, you couldn't. The bottom half of his face had collapsed.
Fears of tourism collapsing led then-Governor Craig Benson to establish a 12-man emergency team to design a monument or restoration. As of this writing, nothing has replaced the rock.
Nobody really knows what happened to cause the face to fall off, although experts speculate the chin was a weak base point that gave way to natural erosion [source: Francis Treves Architect LLC].
Three years after the collapse, tourism in the area plummeted. The Associated Press reported that one local business, an ice cream shop, had lost more than half its annual sales [source: Associated Press].
The Old Man of the Mountain had lured Ulysses S. Grant to the area. It had inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Great Stone Face," a short story often illustrated with a photo of the Old Man. The New Hampshire state quarter, released Aug. 7, 2000, uses the rock face on the opposite side from the portrait of George Washington.
As of 2010, plans are in the making to develop a granite-slab monument at ground level [source: Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund Mission].
On the next page, thousands witness a fire destroy London's historic Crystal Palace.