New Hampshire Missing Places: Ben Franklin Profile Rock

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.

Jim Moore sent me this postcard of Ben Franklin Profile, Doublehead, Mt. Jackson in 2014.

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. Ben Frankiln Profile watermarked

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,
Robert Deutsch

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]

Washington Boulder, Tin Mine Road, Jackson NH, photograph courtesy of the Jackson Historical Society.

Washington Boulder, Tin Mine Road, Jackson NH, photograph courtesy of the Jackson Historical Society.

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.

Washington Boulder, Jackson NH, NOT to be confused with the Franklin Profile in the same town, different location. Photo courtesy Jackson Historical Society.

Washington Boulder, Jackson NH, NOT to be confused with the Franklin Profile in the same town, different location. Photo courtesy Jackson Historical Society.

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?


Alfred Hitchcock Silhouette


*Additional Reading*

Jim Moore’s Page (of fascinating Rock Formations)

Minnesota Museum of the Mississippi-Stone Faces Gazetteer

Addendum: Jim thinks that the “Washington” rock looks like Alfred Hitchcock.  You be the judge.

For those of you wondering about the A.E. Phinney who “discovered” and apparently first photographed the Ben Franklin Profile, I am providing some details.Doublehead and Tin Mountains Jackson NH

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.

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6 Responses to New Hampshire Missing Places: Ben Franklin Profile Rock

  1. Pingback: New Hampshire Missing Places: The Old Man of the Mountain | Cow Hampshire

  2. Rosalie Rodriguez says:

    I just purchased a photo album from 1909 that contains a photo marked George Washington Boulder (same rock as your photo) and also one of The Man of the Mountain. This album should arrive to me this week. If you are interested, I can look through (they travelled the Northeast – even pics of my hometown Brooklyn Bridge) and I can send you some scans.

    Kindest regards,


  3. Jeremy says:

    Hi I just found your article today when searching for information on the Washington boulder which I just visited. I can say definitively that the Washington boulder IS NOT the same profile as the postcard above. It does not look at all like the postcard from the other side and the scale is all wrong. Now I have my hopes up to go find the Ben Franklin profile on Doublehead mt!

  4. Pingback: The Old Man’s Little Brother: a Rock Profile in Milton, New Hampshire | Cow Hampshire

  5. Jeff says:

    I just stumbled onto this interesting article. The name “Washington Boulder”, as shown by the photo from the Jackson Historical Society, is somewhat confusing to me. I grew up in the very early 60s on that mountain. As a matter of fact, our house was right up behind this rock …we had a well-worn path down through the woods to it. This rock was simply known as “Profile Rock” (never heard it called anything other than that), and, the Profile was said to be that of an Indian (Native American, to be politically correct), not George Washington.
    Anyway, I have great memories of that rock …our playground, and the ski area we had up there, called Tyrol.

    • Janice Brown says:


      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I am just repeating what the nice researcher at the historical society told me. I was really researching the first set of profiles which was sorted out when the 2nd profile was mentioned, and if you noticed I said “nowadays” the profile is called that, perhaps since there are two someone wanted to be more specific.

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