A Year in the Life of the Observer Trivia

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For one year, in order to commemorate the first publication of The Suffield Observer, 25 years ago, this trivia column will contain questions about the newspaper and the articles which appeared in it over the years.

1. May 1999 was the first issue of The Suffield Observer. As with most new endeavors there were snafus and complications. What of the following really happened?

a. The first issue was supposed to be a practice issue, not to be distributed.
b. The phone number and address printed in the paper were fake.
c. No one subscribed to the paper.

2. “Cops, Kids & Politics” was an article which Wilfred Roy wrote for the second issue of the paper. What specifically was the article about?

a. Placing an officer in the schools.
b. Putting a student on the Police Commission.
c. Policing student protests in the wake of the Columbine, Colorado school shooting.

3. In June 1999, what did Charles P. Watras write about Bradley Field Airport?

a. Bradley was going to start flights to international destinations.
b. The noise control at the airport.
c. The Concorde, a supersonic jet, was coming to Bradley.

4. David Holmes, a past Headmaster of the Suffield Academy, wrote about Appleton Seaverns, Headmaster of the Academy from 1952 to 1972. Seaverns was feted at the Union League Club in New York City in May 1999 for being an innovative leader who revitalized the school and increased its enrollment numbers. Which of the following statements are true about Seaverns’ tenure at the Academy?

a. Girls were once again admitted to the school. In 1918, the school had become a school for boys.
b. Seaverns purchased the old Kent Memorial Library on High Street for the school.
c. He added a pool to the gymnasium.

5. In May 1999, Lester Smith, long-time reporter and photographer for the Observer, who still continues to write for the paper, wrote an article about the newspapers which have either written about Suffield or emanated from Suffield. Which of the three following newspapers were mentioned in the article?

a. Suffield Sentinel
b. Northern Connecticut Bazaar
c. Windsor Locks Journal

6. In June 1999, Ed Sullivan, perhaps taking a special interest in Suffield newspapers after reading Lester Smith’s article from the month before, wrote about the Impartial Herald which was published in Suffield in 1797-1799. For $1.50 per annum and something else in lieu of cash, subscribers received the weekly Impartial Herald which was “printed on royal paper with elegant type.” What was the something else which the publishers were willing to accept for a subscription?

a. A cord of wood
b. A bolt of cloth
c. A barrel of cider

7. The Impartial Herald was a sophisticated and ambitious enterprise. Along with news of international, national, state, legislative and a smattering of local news, the paper also included advertisements. Were any of the following items not included as an advertisement?

a. A post-rider
b. Ladies’ accessories
c. A farm

8. In April 2000, Lester Smith wrote that the first Suffield Easter sunrise service that he found mentioned in the local paper was in…

a. 1940
b. 1928
c. 1952

9. Is the pond at Sunrise Park man-made or natural?

10. Purchased by the residents of Suffield in a town-wide fundraiser, Sunrise Park was dedicated as a town park on July 2, 1966. Who named Sunrise Park?

a. J. Gorman Smith
b. Mrs. Karl Kulle
c. Mrs. Howard Alcorn


1. a. and b. really happened. Volunteers who worked on the first issue rebelled when they learned it was a practice issue because of all the work which had been put into it, so the paper was mailed out to all Suffield residents. Since the issue was supposed to be a “practice issue” there was no office, no address or phone number. Instead, P.O. Box XXX and phone number 668-9999 were inserted in the paper because it was believed no one would be associated with either one. Unfortunately, although no one had that post office box number, David Marmelstein’s phone number was the one the paper listed. He was receiving phone calls from people wanting to place ads in the Observer. He was a good sport about it and became a reporter for the paper. Twelve Suffield residents signed up to be subscribers because although residents would always receive a free Observer, that information was not printed in the paper.
2. a. Putting an officer in the schools.
3. b. The noise control at the airport.
4. b. and c. are true. a. is not. Girls were not admitted until 1974, two years after Mr. Seaverns left the Academy.
5. All three were mentioned in the article. Other newspapers discussed in the article were the Times by W.H. Lyman which published one issue in 1843, also The Thompsonville Press, Hartford Times, Hartford Courant, Springfield Daily News, Journal Inquirer, Impartial Herald and the Southwick/Suffield Advertiser News.
6. c. A barrel of cider
7. All were advertised in the paper as well as dentifrice powders, brandy, rum and cider. The post-rider was to deliver about 150 copies of The Herald to the “wealthiest farmers and paymakers…found on the Connecticut River.”
8. b. 1928, when the service was conducted on the West Suffield Mountain.
9. Man-made. After Edward Moseley White bought 131 acres of land on the West Suffield Mountain in 1925, he engaged Charles R. Brome, a Suffield ice dealer who practiced other trades as well, to blast a hole suitable for a pond out of a swampy brook part way up the mountain.
10. b. Mrs. Karl Kulle was the winner of the contest to name the park. The name Sunrise Park commemorates the many sunrise Easter services held on the West Suffield Mountain.

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