Franconia Heritage Museum

553 Main Street
Franconia, NH 03580

603-823-5000

About Us :


A few history buffs got together in 1973 to publish a book about "Saving the Great Stone Face." The "Franconia Area Heritage Council" registered as a non-profit organization and published the book in which a local school teacher, FRANCES ANN JOHNSON HANCOCK, detailed the great efforts and high risks taken over many years to delay the final collapse of "The Old Man." The book was a success, and other projects were undertaken. The granite profile fell May 3, 2003, exactly 58 years to the day after New Hampshire adopted the profile as a symbol, on May 3, 1945.

Local historians placed markers on other sites, such as the homestead of Luke Brooks, who is now recognized as "discoverer" of the Old Man of the Mountain, along with his co-surveyor, Francis Whitcomb. The Council, with awards, encouraged school children to write essays on local history. Acquisition of the Franconia furnace, the town's most significant historic site, became the principal goal. It is the only blast furnace still standing in New Hampshire and the only known eight-sided one in the country. Iron smelting was the principal cause of the town's growth, before tourists discovered the merits of our mountain village.

Failing in attempts to bring the town's unique furnace under public protection, the Council, in 1993, created a Center where the public can witness the power and impact of the industry that spurred the town's initial growth.

In 1997 the Council accepted responsibility for managing the Brooks collection of 1,500 artifacts for the town in an 1880 Victorian house purchased with Sarah's Trust Fund. Since the opening of the museum in 1998, the collection has grown to nearly 10,000 items. Contributions of 170 members and efforts by volunteers keep the budget in balance.

A giant family tree showing local Brooks family members descended from Captain Thomas Brooks, is on permanent display. It was prepared and copyrighted by CHRISTOPHER HAPGOOD BROOKS.

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