The house at 480 North Main Street in Suffield was built in 1794 for Dr. Howard Alden. The house was called “Aldenheim.” As related in The Centennial Celebration of the Hartford County Medical Association, September 26th, 1892 (1893):
first upon the list of founders of the Hartford County Medical Society[,] as read by the clerk this morning, stands the name of Howard Alden. He came to Suffield from Ashfield, Mass., at the age of 27, and was of the sixth generation from that John Alden whom Longfellow has made famous in his “Courtship of Miles Standish“: “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?” Now we are told that shortly after Howard Alden came to town, he was taken sick with typhoid fever, and chanced to have as his nurse a fair damsel — one Rhoda Williston — whom he fell deeply in love with, and married on his recovery. So the romance of the marriage of John and Priscilla is reproduced in that of Howard and Rhoda.
For full half a century he and his genial associate, Dr. Pease, practiced side by side; the one, as was said, being good to the poor, and the other to the — rich! so both were we cared for: happy town! As may be inferred, he was a devout Christian and long a deacon of the Congregational Church. A case of what he called “Canine Madness” (Hydrophobia) may be found fully and graphically reported by him, in the reprint of the Connecticut Medical Society’s Proceedings, page 338; it occurred on the 28th of October, 1797. He died in 1841, leaving twelve children, only one of whom survives, at present a resident of Ohio. A few relatives are still in town, including a granddaughter — a most estimable lady — who, with her husband, still occupies the old homestead.
His son, also a doctor, settled in Ohio, as described in the History of Medina County and Ohio (1881):
Dr. Howard Alden came to Medina County in 1834, from Suffield, Conn., and located at Seville, in company with Dr. Mills. From Seville, he moved to Orange, Ashland County, in company with Dr. William Doming. He came back to Westfield in 1840. His father was a physician, with whom he obtained his medical education.
Suffield’s first meeting house was erected around 1680. The Congregational Society was formally organized in 1698. A new Congregational meeting house was built around 1700. The next two church edifices are described in the Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Suffield, Connecticut, October 12, 13 and 14, 1920 (1921):
The sills for a new Meeting House were laid May 8, 1749 and the steeple raised on August 22 following. The edifice was forty feet wide and fifty-seven long and stood north to south parallel with the burying ground. The steeple stood at the north end. . . . The fourth church edifice, the one for the past fifty years serving as the freight house at the railroad station, was built in 1835.
The current church was built in 1869. It was designed in the Romanesque Revival style by John C. Mead, a Suffield native who designed numerous churches throughout Connecticut. The First Church of Christ, Congregational originally had a tall spire on its southeast corner that blew down in the Hurricane of 1938 and was never replaced.
Hilltop Farm, located between Mapleton Avenue and the Connecticut River, just south of the Massachusetts border in Suffield, was developed in the early twentieth century as a country estate and gentleman’s farm by George Hendee, the co-founder of the Indian Motocycle Corporation of Springfield, Mass. Hendee devoted the farm to raising prize dairy cows and poultry. He developed a prize herd of Guernsey cows known as Hilltop Butterfats. In 1913, Hendee began assembling the property for his farm, which by the 1920s had grown to nearly 500 acres. His large manor house, built in 1916, was torn down in 1961 to make way for the sprawling campus of St. Alphonsus College, later occupied by the Lincoln Culinary Institute. The largest and most impressive surviving building from the estate is a massive Dairy Barn (18,700 square feet), constructed by Hendee in 1914. The architect of the manor house, Max Westhoff, may also have designed the barn, which has been called a “Monster Barn” and “Connecticut’s Agricultural Cathedral.” A two-story, Colonial Revival-style building, it is a ground-level stanchion barn with a high drive entrance. Two cylindrical silos flank the entrance on either side.
Later owners subdivided the farm. The parcel containing the barn was part of the former farm that was acquired by Pinnacle Developers in 1999. After local protest about the developers’ plans to build an assisted living facility on the land, Pinnacle sold 127 acres, including the barn, to the Town of Suffield. In 2004, the town sold 7.9 acres, including the barn and other farm buildings, to Educational Properties LLC, which owned the neighboring culinary school (aka the Suffield Conference Center). Educational Properties provided a renewable 99-year lease on the barn to the Friends of Hilltop Farm, which eventually purchased the building in 2013. The organization is restoring the barn and leases 65 acres of adjacent open space owned by the Town of Suffield. The property is now dedicated to agricultural and educational purposes.
The Second Baptist Church of Suffield was established in 1805 by members of the First Baptist Church. The original wooden church was replaced by a brick Greek Revival edifice in 1840, located at 100 North Main Street. The church was designed by local architect Henry Sykes, who had trained under Chauncey Shepherd of Springfield and Ithiel Town of New Haven. Additions were made to the church in 1953 and 1959.
The house at 161 South Main Street in Suffield was built circa 1786-1787 by Elihu Kent, Jr. (1757-1813). He was the son of Elihu Kent (1733-1814), who was captain of a militia company from Suffield that set out in answer to the Lexington Alarm in 1775. Elihu, Sr. was promoted to major in 1777. Serving with him in the militia was Titus Kent, who was owned by Elihu Kent as a slave. According to volume III of the History of the Western Reserve, by Harriet Taylor Upton, Elihu. Sr.’s son, Colonel Elihu Kent, Jr.
married Elizabeth Fitch, of Lebanon, Connecticut. He was also in the Revolutionary army with his father, and was captured by the British on Long Island and confined for a long time as a prisoner of war in the old “Sugar House” in New York, where he suffered greatly. He was a farmer after the Revolution and kept a tavern at Suffield, Connecticut. He was survived by four children.