Warren's Redstone rocket to get faceliftBy John Koziol
Union Leader Correspondent May 01. 2014 8:35PM
WARREN — Just in time for Old Home Day in July, the town’s Redstone ballistic missile will get a much-needed coat of paint and other improvements.
Don Bagley, president of the Warren Historical Society, said his group signed a contract on Wednesday with a company to do the work on the iconic rocket, which has graced the town green for more than 40 years.
Similar to the Redstone missiles that carried the first American, Alan Shepard of Derry, into space, Warren’s rocket will be spiffed up around June 20, said Bagley, and be ready to look its best for Old Home Day in July.
The late Henry “Ted” Asselin, who was stationed at the Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Ala., while he was in the Army, was the catalyst for bringing the 83-foot-long Redstone to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
He inquired about the surplus Redstones lying around the arsenal and was told that he could have one as long as there was no cost to the Army to move it. With some friends and despite some mishaps along the route, Asselin got the Redstone to Warren in 1971, making his hometown the only community in the U.S. to have one.
Since its arrival, the missile has been painted several times. It was set for another coat in 2013 in preparation for Warren’s 250th anniversary, but the funding didn’t materialize. Bagley said painting and installing a layer of reinforcing bricks around the concrete base would cost about $16,000 .
Since then, the historical society has raised the needed funds.
Bagley said people come from all over to photograph or be photographed with the missile. Warren’s Redstone was almost turned into scrap in the early 1980s when some townspeople feared that it could provoke unwanted interest from the then USSR during the Cold War.
There were also suggestions, said Bagley, to turn it into a culvert or an animal feed trough or to donate it to the Town of Derry to honor Shepard.