Madison, New Hampshire: Home to New England’s Largest "Lost Rock"

Well, the Madison Boulder is not exactly lost.

Hundreds if not thousands of people take a gander at this 5,000 (plus) ton wonder each year. This huge granite rock measures about 83 feet in length, 23 feet in height above the ground, and 37 feet in width.  A part of this roughly rectangular block of stone is buried to a depth of ten to twelve feet. Roadside America calls it “America’s Largest Glacial Traveler.”

In geology terms this prominence is considered an “erractic“–a stone moved from its parent source to another spot by a glacier or its streams. These stones are sometimes called “lost rock,” or “foundlings.” The make-up of this rock would then be very different from the ground on which it sits. The Native Peoples of North America regarded these erratics as medicine or spirit stones.

Some feel that the Madison Boulder is the largest erratic in New England, and possibly in the world. Erratics such as the Madison Boulder, and the Pennichuck Boulder in Merrimack New Hampshire, are often used to track the path that an ancient glacier traveled.

The exact parent source of the Madison Boulder is debated. Initially it was believed to have come from Albany only a few miles away. Today other authorities believe it originated at the Whitton or White ledges 12.5 and 4 miles respectively, to the northwest. Others say the boulder is similar to the ones forming Mount Willard in Crawford Notch, twenty-four miles to the nothwest.

If you would like to take a look for yourself, the Madison Boulder is located at a 17-acre site off route 113 in Madison New Hampshire.  This site was acquired by the state of N.H. in 1946. In 1970 Madison Boulder was designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior because the enormous erratic, “is an outstanding illustration of the power of an ice sheet to pluck out very large blocks of fractured bedrock and move them substantial distances.”

Phone: 603-323-2087
Open: Mid-May to Mid-November


*Additional Reading*

Madison Boulder Natural Area-

History of the Madison Boulder (video)

Madison Boulder Video

-Chamber’s Encyclopedia: Erratic Boulder

-Wikipedia–Madison NH

This entry was posted in Boulders and Profiles, History, Structures and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Madison, New Hampshire: Home to New England’s Largest "Lost Rock"

  1. Pingback: Photograph: Madison Boulder | Cow Hampshire

Leave a Reply