William King House, Suffield Connecticut (2)

The William King House in Suffield, seen on February 17, 1938. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey collection.

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The house in 2015:

Taken from a slightly different angle from the earlier photo in this post, the 1938 view here shows the house as it appeared when it was documented as part of the Historic American Buildings Survey.  Begun in 1933, the project was intended to provide work for unemployed photographers and architects during the Great Depression, in order to document some of the country’s historic properties.  These images and documents are now available online through the Library of Congress, and more photographs of the King House, along with detailed architectural drawings, can be found here.  The house hasn’t changed much in its exterior appearance in the past 77 years, and today it is used as a bed and breakfast, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

William King House, Suffield Connecticut (1)

The William King House on North Street in Suffield, around 1920. Image from Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Suffield, Connecticut (1921).

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The house in 2015:

I have found conflicting sources on exactly when this house was built and who built it; apparently there were two William Kings who were living in Suffield at the time, one of whom was known as “Ensign” and the other as “Lieutenant.”  However, according to the book that I got the first photo from, the house was owned by Ensign William King, who was born in 1722 and built the house around 1750.  King’s first wife, Sarah Fuller, died in 1744, just seven months after their marriage, and in 1747 he married Lucy Hathaway.  They had nine children, and their son Seth inherited the property after William’s death in 1791.  It remained in the King family for two more generations, until it was sold in 1883.  Today, the historic house is one of Suffield’s many well-preserved 18th century houses.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is currently the Kingsfield Bed & Breakfast.

Posthumous Sikes House, Suffield Connecticut

The home of Posthumous Sikes, on Mapleton Avenue in Suffield, around 1920. Image from Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Suffield, Connecticut (1921).

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The house in 2015:

The town of Suffield has an impressive collection of historic houses from the first half of the 18th century, including this one, which was built in 1743 by the curiously-named Posthumous Sikes.  The early Puritan settlers of New England would often give their children seemingly unconventional names, often preferring “Increase,” “Thankful,” and “Deliverance” to more Catholic-sounding names like Mary, James, and Peter.  In the case of “Posthumous,” it was often given to a child born after the death of his father, and for Posthumous Sikes, he was born in 1711, seven months after his father Jonathan died.  Posthumous married Rachel Adams around the same time that he built this house, and they had four children: Amos, Stephen, Shadrack, and Gideon.  Posthumous died in 1756, and his son Shadrack later owned the property.  The house appears to have remained in the Sikes family until at least the mid-1800s, and it was recognized as historic even at the time that the first photo was taken, although the sign on the tree provides the wrong date for the house.

First Baptist Church, Suffield Connecticut

The First Baptist Church in Suffield, around 1920. Image from Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Suffield, Connecticut (1921).

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The church in 2015:

Baptist churches were rare in 18th century New England; churches could only be established with the approval of the colonial legislature, and citizens paid church taxes to support the official colonial church, the Congregational church. However, following the Great Awakening, other denominations began establishing churches, including the Baptists. The first Baptist church in Hartford County was built here in 1769, just across the street from the present-day church, at the intersection of Hill Street and Russell Avenue. This small settlement, some three miles from the main village of Suffield, became the center of Baptist activity in the area.

The original building was replaced in 1793 with a brick one, located on the same spot as the current one.  Because of its remote location, though, it was inconvenient for many people from eastern Suffield to attend, so in 1805, the Second Baptist Church was established in the center of town.  Their present-day meeting house was built in 1840, a large brick structure that contrasts with the small present-day First Baptist Church seen here, which was built in 1846.  The Zion’s Hill Cemetery is located the church, with gravestones dating back to the 1700s, including Joseph Hastings, the founder of the church.

The First Baptist Church continued to meet here until the 1920s, and for nearly a century the building has not been regularly used.  However, it is still occasionally used for special church services, which are limited to the summer because of the building’s lack of heat.  Today, the church is well-preserved, and it forms the centerpiece of the Hastings Hill Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

West Suffield Congregational Church, Suffield Connecticut

The West Suffield Congregational Church, at the corner of Mountain Road and North Grand Street in Suffield, around 1920. Image from Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Suffield, Connecticut (1921).

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The church in 2015:

The West Suffield Congregational Church was established in 1740 by the Massachusetts General Court (at the time, Suffield and several other northern Connecticut towns were part of Massachusetts), and the congregation was organized three years later. The first pastor, John Graham, served for 50 years, ending his ministry in 1796, around the same time that the original building was replaced. The second building was completed in 1795, and sat on the same spot as the present-day building.

The second pastor of the church, Daniel Waldo, was perhaps the most remarkable in the long history of the congregation.  He was born in 1762 and served in the American Revolution at the age of 16.  Following his graduation from Yale, he became the pastor here, and served from 1792 until about 1810.  After leaving Suffield, he served as a missionary in Pennsylvania and New York, and was the pastor of several other New England churches before being named Chaplain of the House of Representatives in 1855, at the age of 93.  He served as chaplain for two years, but he didn’t really retire afterward; he continued preaching even beyond his 100th birthday, and he died in 1864, a little over a month before he would have turned 102.  He was among the last living veterans of the American Revolution, and was one of the few to have been photographed, seen here shortly before his death:


The third, and current church building was built in 1840, on the foundations of the second building.  There have been several additions behind and to the left of the building, in 1879 and 1958, but the main part of the building hasn’t changed much, aside from a different paint scheme, since the first photo was taken.  The congregation is still active here after over 270 years, and they are part of the United Church of Christ denomination.

Fuller Hall, Suffield Connecticut

The North Building, on the campus of Suffield Academy, probably around 1920. Image from Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Suffield, Connecticut (1921).

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The building, now heavily renovated and renamed Fuller Hall, as seen in 2015:

It took me a while to figure out that this is, in fact, the same building.  The North Building was built in 1873, replacing the 1845 Ladies Building that had burned the previous year.  It is located just to the right of the Memorial Building, and both of these buildings date back to when Suffield Academy was known as the Connecticut Literary Institute.  However, while the Memorial Building still resembles its 19th century appearance, Fuller Hall is essentially unrecognizable from the first photo.  A substantial renovation in the 1950s removed most of the original Second Empire style architectural elements, including the mansard roof (and with it, the entire fourth floor), the three small towers, the front porch, and the window cornices.  A close examination of the 2015 shows the difference between the newer, lighter bricks, and the original, darker-colored bricks.