The town of Suffield’s first library building was erected in 1899 at 119 High Street on land where the Old South building on the Connecticut Literary Institute (now Suffield Academy) campus once stood. Designed by Daniel Burnham, the library was built using funds provided by Suffield native Sidney A. Kent, as described in Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Suffield, Connecticut, October 12, 13 and 14, 1920 (1921):
In 1897 Mr. Sidney A. Kent, a native of Suffield and for many years a prominent and successful business man in Chicago, returned to Suffield and, desirous of erecting a memorial to his parents whose ancestors were prominent in the early history of the town, offered to erect a library building costing not less than $35,000, if the town would provide a suitable site. The site of the old South building was secured from the Connecticut Literary Institution and was a part of the grant or allotment of land made in 1678 to Samuel Kent, the first of his ancestors to come to Suffield. Upon this he erected the beautiful Kent Memorial building and in addition furnished the library with 6872 carefully selected volumes and thirty-two magazines and periodicals. That the library might be properly provided for in addition to town appropriations, Mr. Kent created an endowment of $25,000, one-half of the income of which should go annually to the maintenance of the library, and the other half added to the principal for a period of twenty years, after which the whole income of the increased fund should become available. The building was dedicated November 1, 1899 at which time Mr. Kent presented to the town the building, books, certificate of trust fund and a check for $5000 to cover the cost of site. On September 1, 1901 the library had 10,759 volumes in its stacks and 10,773 naa been drawn by the public during the year. There are now over twenty thousand volumes and the number of books drawn annually by the public has steadily increased. The town annually appropriates $1200 and the income from the Kent fund is about $1400.
In the third quarter of the nineteenth century, Neland Loomis of Suffield built a group of houses (which formed an enclave called “Baghdad”) on South Main Street to house his tobacco workers. Pictured above are the Greek Revival houses at 195-197 (left) and 183-185 (center), built c. 1850. On the left is building (173-179 South Main Street) erected in 1918 as a store with apartments above.
The late (1869) example of a Greek Revival style house at 217-219 South Main Street in Suffield was built for Newton Stoughton Pomeroy (1832-1905). In 1864 he was one of several agents going from Connecticut to recruit in the rebel states. He served as First Selectman of Suffield in 1899. The house is now divided into apartments.
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.