A Year in the Life of the Observer Trivia

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The Suffield Observer celebrates 25 years in publication in May 2024. Until that time, this trivia column will contain questions about articles which have appeared in it over the years.

1. Seeing Double at Spaulding School was the title of a photograph placed in the Observer in May 2000. What did the photograph depict?

a. Doubles, a popular food in Trinidad, was served in the school cafeteria along with other foods from the West Indies, as an introduction to other cultures.
b.  In that year, the school enrollment consisted of 17 sets of twins.
c. In an art show, students displayed their artistic version of Picasso’s cubist paintings in which he combined two faces as one.

2. Mary Jo Rushlow is a Suffield artist and instructor. A June 2000 article noted that she prepared an exhibit at the Loomis Chaffee school featuring Kari Lonning who grew up in Suffield and is a renowned artist in the same craft as Rushlow. What artistry do both share?

a. Metalwork
b. Painting
c. Basketry

3. Lester Smith wrote about Bertha “Bird” Alcorn, who at 97, had lived in Suffield all of her life when the article was written in June 2000. The article listed many of her early memories of the town including a mention of The Huckleberry. What was it?

a. An ice cream shop
b. The water spa on Poole Road
c. A train

4. Fox hunts were frequently held in Suffield. Lester Smith reported that in April 1952, 100 sportsmen attended with 65 hounds. According to the article, where were some of the hunts conducted?

a. Hastings Hill
b. Taintor Hill
c. West Suffield Mountain

5. In an article written by Lester Smith about early Suffield gas stations and auto equipment stores, he noted that a 1920 directory listed five of them in town. Dominick Alfano had a store on the present site of the Pilgrim Barber Shop. He offered gasoline and vulcanizing. What is vulcanizing?

a. Blacksmith services to fabricate horse shoes
b. Lubrication services
c. Tire repair services

6. True or false. The Suffield Water Company, incorporated in 1893, built two reservoirs on West Suffield Mountain and guided the water through a 10-inch pipe to Main Street.

7. On July 3, 1999, Jerry Crane, President of Citizens Restoring Congamond (CRC), entered an activity on Congamond Lake into the Guinness Book of World Records. What was the activity?

a. World’s widest pontoon boat bridge
b. Longest time people floated on water
c. Largest raft of canoes and kayaks

8. Bob Stanley wrote about a roof of a public building which collapsed on June 15, 1999. Which roof was it?

a. The Town Hall
b. Second Baptist Church
c. Public Works Garage

9. In 1993, a new independent political party was formed in Suffield. What was its name?

a. Suffield Community Party
b. Suffield Agrarian Party
c. Suffield Moderate Party

10. Lester Smith wrote about the Suffield Post Office in his column The Way We Were in October 1999. Which of the following statements are correct?

a. Suffield had a post office beginning in 1811.
b. When William Gay, son of the Rev. Ebenezer Gay, Sr., was the postmaster, the Suffield post office was the financial control center for the entire postal route from New York to Boston and Canada.
c. When Gay was postmaster, the job was a very profitable patronage job. Patronage in the appointment of postmasters was only abolished in 1969.


1. b. In that year, the student enrollment consisted of 17 sets of twins.
2. c. Basketry. Rushlow, a past president of the Northeast Basketry Guild still teaches basketry in her studio on Thompsonville Road. Lonning has exhibited at the Smithsonian Craft Show, White House Collection of American Crafts, U.S. Embassy in Thailand, the Yale Art Gallery and many more galleries, museums and corporate collections.
3. c. A train. It was named the Huckleberry because it passed huckleberry bushes which passengers would try to harvest as the train passed by. Bird died in 2004 when she was 102.
4. All of the locations were mentioned in the article. According to Robert Alcorn, Taintor Hill was the best location.
5. c. Tire repair services
6. False. The plan was proposed but not acted upon. Instead in 1896, Apollos Fuller sank two deep wells at the site of his steam grist mill on Mapleton Avenue and an 80-foot standpipe was built at the north end of Main Street. At the time of the article, Lester Smith said that water was still coming through the pipes.
7. a. The World’s widest pontoon boat bridge connecting two states was a fun event for boaters and a fundraiser to eradicate Eurasian Watermilfoil weed from the lake. The activity was the brainchild of Rick LaBarre. It raised $10,030 for CRC.
8. b. Second Baptist Church. Luckily no one was in the building at the time.
9. a. Suffield Community Party. The party was formed during a period of chaos in Suffield when town budgets were not passed and the town faced a huge debt. Birthed from a committee formed by Wesley Evans, pastor of the Second Baptist Church and Bernard Ellis, the Superintendent of Schools, the mission of the party was to unite the community, lower the debt and provide a better organized government. The new party achieved a landslide victory when Warren Packard and Art Christian were voted in as the First and Second Selectman. Roland Dowd, also a Community Party candidate, became the First Selectman in the following election. The party disbanded in 1999 after it achieved its objectives and the Republican Party adopted a platform similar to the Community Party.
10. b. and c. are correct. Hezekiah Huntington was appointed Suffield postmaster in 1796 in the first post office between Hartford and Springfield. He was a Jeffersonian, so when John Adams became president, William Gay, a Federalist, got the job which he held for 37 years. Gay was a prominent lawyer who also profited from being a postmaster and was able to buy the impressive house on Main Street, known to this day as the Gay Mansion.

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