Bangor resident says city has its own ‘Man of the Mountain’

Posted Aug. 14, 2009, at 8:23 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Franconia, N.H., had its Old Man of the Mountain.

Bucksport has its witch’s foot.

Prospect has its big foot.

Now Bangor may be next to join the list of towns with offbeat tourist attractions.

Sometime in May, Arthur Brazeau, 62, of Bangor drove from his home on Union Street to Lover’s Leap Park, off Valley Avenue, to watch hawks and eagles.

“I happened to pull over and park and I looked over and said, ‘That looks like the Old Man in the Mountain,’” he said Friday morning.

Looking east toward downtown Bangor, the 4-foot-tall rock formation, beginning about seven feet up the rock bluff on the side of the road, looks like an old man’s face with a white quartz stripe, resembling a scar, running from brow to chin.

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The face, which can only be seen in profile when facing east, seems to gaze solemnly toward Lover’s Leap, a cliff that local legend holds to be the site where an American Indian woman and her settler lover jumped to their deaths into Kenduskeag Stream because her chieftain father wouldn’t let them marry.

“It does look like an Indian almost,” Brazeau said of the face.

“The guy’s overlooking where his daughter jumped off or something.”

Brazeau, who said he had never heard of anybody else noticing the Old Man of the Kenduskeag, would like to see the city develop the site into a tourist attraction.

“If the city cleans the brush [from in front of the ledge] then it will be more of an attraction,” he said. “I think it will bring in some people to bring money into the area.”

Brazeau said he has tried to garner interest from the Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau, who in turn directed him to City Hall.

“I have heard from this gentleman,” said Bangor Mayor Gerry Palmer.

Palmer said he has not yet gone down to the area to look for The Man, but said he has “never seen a man in the mountain down there.”

Palmer said the city has been busy with other projects. If the site ends up being what Brazeau says it is, they will consider developing it into a tourist attraction.

“We certainly will take a look in it,” sometime after the American Folk Festival, he said. “I might take the city engineer with me.”

Theresa Lawlor of Bangor, who was jogging along the stream on Friday morning, had never noticed the face before.

At first glance, she didn’t see it, though she eventually agreed the rock did resemble a man’s face.

“If you probably stared at it for a long time” you could see it, she said.

Tracy Willette, director of Bangor Parks and Recreation, said no one at his office had heard of the rock formation.

“We’ll go down and take a look at that,” he said. “At the very least, if it is indeed something that’s recognizable, we would want to put some signage up.

“What’s surprising is, after 40 some-odd canoe races no one has noticed that before,” Willette said.

Brazeau said he always has had a good imagination. As a child, he would imagine shapes in clouds.

“Being a Native American, I have that vision,” he said outside his home.

He pointed to a rock by the flagpole in the yard of his apartment complex. “That rock looks like a buffalo,” he said.

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