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Rindge’s solemn, beautiful landmark

  • NH Senator Jeanne Shaheen presented a stone from President Obama to the Cathedral of the Pines on Monday. The stone is to be set in the Altar of the Nation, a war monument. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Nicholas Handy

  • The Cathedral of the Pines is giving away a wedding to a New Hampshire veteran. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • The Women's Memorial Bell Tower at the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge is believed to have been the first monument in the United States dedicated to the sacrifice and service of women. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • The Women's Memorial Bell Tower at the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge is believed to have been the first monument in the United States dedicated to the sacrifice and service of women. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • John Kaufhold Peterborough Marble & Granite Works, LLc placed President Obama's stone in the Altar of the Nation in Rindge on Monday, May 23, 2016. (Nicholas Handy / Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • John Kaufhold Peterborough Marble & Granite Works, LLc placed President Obama's stone in the Altar of the Nation in Rindge on Monday, May 23, 2016. (Nicholas Handy / Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • John Kaufhold Peterborough Marble & Granite Works, LLc placed President Obama's stone in the Altar of the Nation in Rindge on Monday, May 23, 2016. (Nicholas Handy / Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, August 07, 2018 10:47AM

Rindge’s Cathedral of the Pines may be recognized as a place of serene beauty — with stunning views of Mount Monadnock and a number of walking trails — but it also serves as a nationally-dedicated war monument steeped in history.

The Cathedral property was purchased by Sibyl and Douglas Sloane III in the fall of 1937. The Sloane’s envisioned the land would one day offer space for their four children to build homes on.

Two of the Sloanes’ sons — Jack and “Sandy” Sanderson — joined the Army Air Corps during World War II. Sandy was killed during the war when his plane was shot down over Germany in 1944.

When the family held a memorial service for Sandy in Aug. 1945 in a clearing with a view of Mount Monadnock, the very site where Sandy had planned to build his home after the war, many in the community turned out to pay their respects.

This initial memorial service for Sandy led to more services, where all faith traditions were welcomed, and the creation of the outdoor cathedral surrounded by pines. In 1946, the Altar of the Nation was built in the clearing as a focal point for services and was later recognized nationally, in 1957, as a memorial to all American men and women who lost their lives in war.

The altar is made with stones from every state, every U. S. President dating back to Harry Truman, as well as stones from Plymouth Rock, the Lexington Battlefield and the ancient Coliseum of Rome.

The most recent stone placed into the altar was a lava rock hand picked by former President Barack Obama from Pearl Harbor on May 23, 2016.

Towering over the Cathedral’s parking lot is the Women’s Memorial Bell Tower, thought to be the first monument in the country to be devoted to the service and sacrifice of American women.

One of the more notable features of the 55-foot-tall, nearly 50-year-old tower are four bronze plaques affixed to its exterior.

The plaques were designed by Norman Rockwell and created by his son Peter and honor early pioneer women, Red Cross founder Clara Barton, women who served in the military and various organizations and groups of women that gave their lives to war efforts.

The Cathedral of the Pines is also home to the Peter J. Booras Museum, which after being closed for renovations for three years reopened last year. 

The museum currently offers a number of exhibits, focused on the founding of the Cathedral and the Altar of the Nation, as well as a set of model airplanes and much more. Only about 30 percent of the museum’s stock is on display, offering the Cathedral a chance to rotate exhibits in and out to keep things fresh.

Cathedral of the Pines is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May through October.