When the Stonegate subdivision on North Main Street was approved by Planning & Zoning, the three existing homes on the property were to be preserved, and it was thought by many that the several farm buildings behind them, all within the Main Street Historic District, would survive as well. One member of the P & Z Commission pointed out that the commission had no responsibility with regard to historic preservation, which is the concern of the Suffield Historic District Commission.
The three old homes still stand, and the principal one has been considerably restored, with consideration given to its historic appearance. (That building, at 480 North Main, was Aldenheim, so named because one of its early owners was a descendant of John Alden, the shy suitor in early seventeenth century Plymouth, Mass., to whom, as Longfellow wrote, Priscilla Mullins delivered the famous phrase, “Speak for yourself, John.”)
The Historic District Commission held an informal discussion on Stonegate in July 2017. The minutes of that meeting, summarizing the discussion, stated, “The Commission could not allow the main home or barns to be moved. The relocation would detract from the historic authenticity, as the original site is of historic significance.”
Nevertheless, when the developer asked later for permission to remove a large tobacco shed which stood in the future back yard of the only new house in the subdivision with Main Street frontage, the Commission voted its permission, 5 to 2. This reporter, who also serves as town historian, consulted with a friend who had been for many years a member of the State Historic Preservation Office. She advised that that office leaves it to the local preservation agency to make the preservation decisions when such an agency exists. It seems, as this report is headlined, “Goodbye to another piece of Old Suffield.”