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Capital campaign for Cathedral of the Pines expansion heads to public phase

  • The Hilltop House at Cathedral of the Pines is currently undergoing an expansion and renovation. The Cathedral is running a capital campaign to offset the cost of the project. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • The Hilltop House at Cathedral of the Pines is currently undergoing an expansion and renovation. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/12/2020 9:04:48 PM

Cathedral of the Pines has reached the halfway point in funding an ongoing major renovation and addition to the Hilltop House, where it holds indoor events, memorials and weddings.

The upgrade will increase the space in its main event room, and an addition will allow for an office, catering room, expanded bridal suite, and handicapped-accessible bathrooms, and additional storage space. In addition to the new space, the main event room will be updated with new doors, windows, lighting, flooring, and heating and ventilation systems.

“It really is warranted,” said Bob Pettegrew, the head of the Capital Campaign Committee.

This is the most significant renovation the building will undergo since the establishment of the Cathedral, which has become not only a local draw, but a national one.

“About 15,000 to 20,000 visit this place every year, from all over the world, in fact,” Pettegrew said.

Construction on the project, which will add about 1,200 square feet of space, is already underway, and the Cathedral of the Pines is embarking on the public phase of the capital campaign to pay for the project. Currently, private donations have raised about $365,000 of the total $675,000 cost.

The construction is anticipated to be completed by April, when the Cathedral of the Pines opens for its spring and summer season. The sunrise Easter observances, traditionally the season opener for the Cathedral, are expected to be held in the newly renovated space. It will be the kick-off to the Cathedral of the Pine’s 75th anniversary season.

The history of the Cathedral began in August of 1945, when the original property owners, Sibyl and Douglas Sloane, held a memorial service for their son, Sanderson “Sandy” Sloane, who was killed in World War II when his plane was shot down over Germany in 1944. The Sloanes, who originally bought the property intending it to be land for the future homes of their three children, instead used the land to build memorials for those who have served the nation in all branches of the military. It also serves as a “Cathedral without walls” welcoming people of every faith.

“What better way to celebrate our 75th Anniversary,” said Cathedral of the Pines Executive Director Patricia Vargas.

The Cathedral is planning an extensive celebration of its anniversary in the month of August, including a memorial for those buried in the Cathedral cemetery, a family day and barbeque, recording of an oral history of the Cathedral by visitors that week, and hosting the Vietnam Veteran Traveling Memorial Wall, a three-fifths scale model of the national monument in Washington D.C.

Cathedral of the Pines expects to conduct a door-to-door mailing for residents of the towns of Jaffrey, Rindge and Peterborough within the next month soliciting donations. Donations can be made on the Cathedral of the Pines website or by contacting Patricia Vargas at 899-3300 or

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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