October 2018

A Relic of Old Suffield

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Photo and map provided by the author

The rail spike is pictured where it is was found along Route 159. The map shows the route. For about 29 years, trolleys connected Hartford and Springfield on both sides of the river.

After a series of powerful rainstorms, I went out for a run and found a relic of old Suffield: a wrought iron rail spike from Suffield’s long-gone trolley system. From 1904 to 1926, an electric trolley traveled from Springfield to Hartford, passing each day through Suffield.

During this period, the trolley crossed the state line from Agawam on Route 159 (where the spike was found) and continued on Mapleton Ave. The trolley turned left onto Main Street and then the trolley turned left on Kent Avenue and continued onto Boston Neck Road. The trolley turned right onto Route 159 and headed toward Windsor Locks.

In 1904, Robert H. Derrah published a book titled, “By Trolley through New England”. 

After the trolley line closed, the rails were likely pulled out to fuel the war effort. Since then, the roads have been paved, and the trolley has been lost to our collective memory. Thanks to Mother Nature, a bit of erosion next to the road unearthed a reminder of a bygone era in which a trolley system connected our community to the larger metropolitan region. 

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