Quest For The Old Man's Face Of Narragansett by Keith R Wahl, Made From RI Gallery
Old Man's Face of NarragansettThis rock on the coast of Narragansett, Rhode Island is known as "The Old Man's Face". This was once the most photographed landmark in Narragansett. We sought it out to bring the memory back.
This is the story of a quest. Discovery (or rediscovery) and exploration are not dead. These are topics that are alive and well right here in Rhode Island.
The topic started out by simple means. Christopher Scott Martin of www.Quahog.org asked on Facebook, "Has anyone seen this rock lately? Wondering if it still exists." (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10222411625974859&set=p.10222411625974859&type=3&theater)
This question piqued my curiosity. Of course, my curiosity does not need a lot of stimulation. This... this was different. I have explored and sailed the Rhode Island coast my whole life. Here we had a rock that I did not know. This just became personal.
The research was next. I had two clues. One was a picture with a name that dated back to somewhere around the turn of the Twentieth Century. The other was the location, Narragansett, Rhode Island.
The picture was a significant clue. As I looked at the landscape (seascape), I could tell that the depiction was looking north to the northeast. I also found a 2013 article from The South County Life magazine saying, "... or to practice taking pictures with their new Kodak camera by paying a visit to the Old Man's Face - the most photographed landmark in Narragansett - a rock formation that looked like an elderly man's profile with his head gazing upward, staring at the sky..." (https://www.independentri.com/southcountylifemagazine/inside_the_magazine/retro/article_d6eac464-8e04-54b0-aa17-1b68e4f29e6a.html?fbclid=IwAR25GiCR0ReGtKGdH-6FC9i0co5XoQXU6iupuBa6vnGIqJWES2KDTdP9U_4 ).
Also, I found this from "Narragansett Pier, RI - Illustrated" as published by the Hotel Men's Association for the price of $1.00 in 1891: https://archive.org/details/narragansettpier02nypr/page/n33/mode/2up. This is the last clue, a specific mention of Point Judith.
Now, we were getting somewhere! One last thing. Look at a map. Actually, I looked at satellite photos and found what I thought was the target. I was almost certain. I ran this information by my wife, Jen (who spent her summers in Narragansett since birth) and our boys. They all agreed to the candidate.
I plotted for low tide and we went out there today (August 8, 2020). After crossing some very slippery rocks as the tide ebbed, we found it. No questions, no doubt, this was "The Old Man's Face" of old. A little worse for wear and having grown a goatee, but it was him. Success!
Photo from our Made From RI Gallery portfolio display "Summer At The Beach" (all photos are available as prints, canvas wraps, framed works, cards, or many other formats). See more here: https://www.madefromrigallery.com/p627470520
© Keith R Wahl, Made From RI/Made From RI Gallery, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Keith R Wahl and Made From RI/Made From RI Gallery with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Keywords: beach, citizen science, coastline, discovery, exploration, Keith R Wahl, Made From RI Gallery, narragansett, Photography, point judith, rediscovery, rhode island, rock, seascape, the old man's face
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