In an attempt to appreciate our local place more, we walked to various sites that we have researched in detail for the last ten weeks. While we are focussing on the homefront during WWI, we also took time to consider Suffield’s history from the time the first colonials carved up the home lots as well as how the land was used. This long look back over Suffield history was inspired by the great lengths Suffield celebrated its 350th birthday in the fall of 1920. We are dwelling on this moment because it will help us understand Suffield’s post war attitudes as well as its response to the Influenza outbreak. See this book for more details on the celebration: https://archive.org/details/celebrationoftwo00suffie
With that in mind, we observed how the old town hall in the center of town and the installation of the Bronze Tablets were significant moments for making memory in 1920. We then saw how our modern war memorial utilizes these bronze tablets from the old town hall and honors other 20th century veterans. Moreover, when we focused more on the town green’s four centuries of history, we observed how the first two centuries of colonial use took advantage of the high ground and well worn Native American path. The current home locations and shape of the town green also revealed how these colonial residents utilized the “common lands” for domestic animals and probably shared overseeing these animals while they took turns working the narrow and long fields behind their houses. Our common knowledge of the 19th century image of the town green with the couple strolling under shade trees helps us image that century’s appreciation of the space. (This image hangs in several rooms at Suffield Academy, including my classroom.) When we paused on the late nineteenth century installation of the Civil War memorial and how it does not list the 35 members of the 29th regiment that are listed on the bronze tablets, we realized how this was a new chapter of town green for honoring veterans would continue in the 20th century. What patterns do you see in your New England town center? #CAISCT learner join our blog and share what you learn.