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On May 3, 2003, the Old Man of the Mountain collapsed, succumbing to the inevitable despite an 81-year effort to fortify the fragile rock formation. The natural outcropping, which resembled a human face in profile, had long been an icon of New Hampshire, recently appearing on the state's quarter.

Daniel Webster memorably wrote of the monument: "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."

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