A fascinating gentleman named Jim Moore has a passion for rock formations with human-like appearances (similar to the Old Man of the Mountains). He recently “stumbled upon” my blog, and sent me a scan of an old postcard showing a Ben Franklin profile that exists, or used to exist at Doublehead Mountain, in Jackson, New Hampshire.
UPDATE: On August 7, 2016, I received the following email.
Dear Janice: I recently read this interesting article of yours (I realize it is an older post), however it does not appear anyone has since posted a solution to the mystery of the Ben Franklin Profile Rock. After visiting the George Washington profile boulder, it seems odd that location of the Franklin profile was confused with Washington by the local historian.The Washington boulder is a solitary boulder in a wooded location and the old Franklin profile photo shows a larger profile in open ledge area. Additionally, the large banner tree in the background of the old photo points to an windy summit location. With all this in mind, and the vague ‘Doublehead Mtn’ caption on the old photo, I set out to find the Franklin profile.
The Franklin profile is actually on the face of the west facing ledge near the summit of South Doublehead in Jackson. To see the profile, you have to scoot down to the left of the ledge and look to up and over to your right. I have attached a photo of the Franklin profile as it appears in August 2016 (for your use only without permission). Again, thank you for the interesting NH history blogs. Kind Regards,
Port Jefferson Station, NY
[those wishing to use his photograph, shown directly above, without the watermark should contact him at this email address for permission]
First off, KUDOS and many thanks to Robert Deutsch who solved this mystery of the two stone profiles. Prior to Robert Deutsch’s email with updated Franklin Boulder photograph, (In September of 2014), I sent an email with the postcard of the Franklin Profile to the Jackson Historical Society, asking them about it. A very nice man, Warren Schomaker, from the Historical Society, replied and sent along a couple of recent photographs of the profile (below). He stated that nowadays the profile is called the “Washington Boulder.” [Editor’s Note: Yes the photographs below ARE of the Washington Boulder, a completely different rock than the Franklin Boulder above].
The Washington Boulder is located on Tin Mine Road, shortly after Middle Mountain Trail, on the left. It is located close to the road, and is easily seen when driving by, as the boulder is on ground level (not on a ledge like the Old Man profile was).
I was still not convinced that the first profile (in the postcard) was the same (and rightly so as it turned out) as the Washington Boulder. The noses and chins look very different, and would still look different if taken from a different angle.
Jim Moore also send me the following excerpt from the book, “Images of America, Around Jackson, NH, by Richard S. Johnson: “Many natural rock formations resemble famous people, as in this photograph of Jackson’s own Washington Boulder, or Profile. The boulder resides in Thorn Mountain park on the road to the old Tyrol Ski Area. The park and rock were popular tourists attractions in the early 1900s. It is rumored local
photographer A.E. Phinney discovered a Ben Franklin Profile rock, but no additional information on the location on this “find” is available.” [see below for more on A.E. Phinney]
In 1914 I wondered if that Ben Franklin was missing in New Hampshire, and asked any reader has information about, or has seen, the “Franklin” rock, please contact me either by email or by leaving a comment.
As for this second profile, aka the “Washington Boulder”…. Do you think it looks like George Washington? Or perhaps it looks more like former NH Governor John Lynch?
Addendum: Jim thinks that the “Washington” rock looks like Alfred Hitchcock. You be the judge.
A.E. Phinney was a photographer who ran a studio [possibly called Buena Vista Studio] in Jackson, New Hampshire from around 1920 to 1942. He was born Amos Emery Phinney on 30 July 1883 in Boston, Massachusetts, son of Percy P. & Jemima R. (Proctor) Phinney. He died 10 Jun 1959 at Glendale, Maricopa, AZ.
At the age of 16 he was living with his maternal grandmother, listed as her “ward” in Bolton MA. On 22 September 1911 in Waltham MA, Amos E. Phinney married Florence Edna Mears, daughter of John S. & Alice (Chapman) Mears. On 27 March 1913 their son Ellsworth E. Phinney was born in Waltham, MA. [Ellsworth Phinney died in Florida 11 Feb 1976].
Amos E. Phinney was a photographer at least as early as 1917 when he completed his WWI Draft Registration card, being single at that time. The 1920 and 1930 censuses show Amos, his wife Florence and son Ellsworth together, in 1920 living in Jackson NH. In 1930 he and his family are living in Bolton MA, his occupation artist, owning a gift shop. During this time he still ran his business in Jackson, for his WWII registration of 1942 shows a residence at 17 Cushing St. Waltham, but mailing address and business in Jackson NH. By 1940 “Emery A. Phinney” and wife were living at 399 Newton Street Waltham MA, the owner of an Art Shop.
From about 1917 through 1940 Amos E. Phinney took a number of photographs in the Jackson, New Hampshire area. Some of the subjects of his photography include: Wildcat Valley and Carter Notch; Mt. Washington from Jackson NH, Wentworth Hall in Jackson NH; and of course the photograph of the Ben Franklin profile.
The Wildcat Inn & Tavern, in Jackson NH, posts a history stating that their current building used to be the “Mr. Finney’s photographer studio.” This was probably the location of A.E. Phinney’s photography studios. The same spot was later the site of the iconic Caroll Reed Shop.