The Warren Rocket

Normally, when you think of the town common in a small New England town, you picture a white church with a steeple, maybe a Civil War monument, and perhaps a gazebo.  My guess is that you don’t picture a vintage Redstone rocket but that is what sits on the town common in Warren, NH.

It began when a town native, Ted Asselin, was station at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.  This was the height of the space race, around the time that Apollo 11 landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon.  Ted noticed several obsolete Redstone rockets lying abandoned in a field at the arsenal.  He thought that if children in New Hampshire, who were far removed from America’s space program, could see a real rocket, then perhaps it would inspire them to go into the sciences.

Thus, began the back and forth between the Department of Defense (DoD) and town officials.  The DoD agreed to release the rocket for display purposes as long as it didn’t cost them anything.  (They also stripped out the engine and guidance system.) The town agree to receive and erect the rocket in the town common if they didn’t have to pay to ship it.

All Ted had to do was get it the 1,300 miles from Alabama to Warren.  He and a friend borrowed a truck and drove to Alabama where engineers at the post loaded it onto a 60-foot trailer.  Then they set off for New Hampshire but not without a couple of adventures.  They were fined in Ohio for not having a permit for transporting it through the state.  (Really, there is a permit for this sort of thing?)  They broke down in the state capital, Concord, and had to be towed to a ceremony at the state house.  Finally, it arrived and was dedicated on July 4, 1971.

I’d heard of the Warren rocket many times but had never seen it.  The town is small and not close to the highway or any city.  My travels to take pictures of covered bridges brought me close enough to Warren to make a detour to see the rocket.  It stands about 70 feet (21m) tall and was designed as a ballistic missile for the military.  It was used in the space program.  New Hampshire native Alan Shepard, the first American in space, was launched in a modified Redstone rocket.

24 thoughts on “The Warren Rocket

    1. milfordstreet Post author

      Warren isn’t near anything. I went through Plymouth by the Polar Caves. It’s a pretty area. If you go back to Wentworth you can continue to the Hanover area. Thanks, Liz.

    2. michnavs

      Now, that is a very interesting tale..the rocket is absolutely stunning and beautiful as it is…and with you, telling the story makes it even more interesting…

      And i had to stop reading and laugh at the part where they were fined for transporting😊😊

  1. Sandra

    Note to self: don’t try transporting rocket across state lines without proper permit. That is hilarious. What an entertaining picture story. A rocket is not something you see everyday. So happy you paused for the photograph! Take care Chris!

    1. milfordstreet Post author

      I know. Who would think you would need a permit for this type of thing. But those guy just decided to go for it and transport the rocket on their own. I’m glad you enjoyed the image and the story, Sandra. Take care.

  2. photobyjohnbo

    There is often an interesting story about local landmarks. It was fun to read about this one. The Fargo Air Museum has a 33-ton Minuteman II missile on display in their parking lot. I might just have to find the backstory on that acquisition and installation.

  3. Sarah

    Wow! This is so cool! I’d have definitely gone into science as a kid seeing this rocket!! And who knew you needed a permit to transport a rocket? 😂


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