Return to Suffield – #ThursdayDoors

“The Second Empire in all its complexity”
-NRHP form

The Suffield Connecticut Historic District was the subject of my first doorscursion in over 10 weeks. Last week, I shared a few doors from the south end of the district and a couple of farms that are located outside the district. This historic district is a bit unusual for a couple of reasons. First, it spans a modern business district. Second, it includes a private (secondary school) academy and finally, it includes two buildings which are listed separately on the National Registry of Historic Places (NRHP). Those buildings will not be included in this short series, but for a good reason.

The two buildings, actually, one building and a farm, have been preserved and converted into museums. Of course, they are closed now, due to the Corona virus. The good news is that in phase-two of our reopening, museums will be allowed to allow access to their interior spaces. I’m going to save those two buildings for a time when I can present them properly.

I did find that the NRHP nomination form for the district, included information and earlier photos of some of the buildings I photographed. Below is the excerpt that describes the featured image.

Here is the Second Empire in all its complexity. It is a tall, three story, mansard house with central projecting pavilion that rises to a mansarded tower above the third floor. Bracketed cornices at first, second, and third floors introduce a horizontal influence that balances the vertical thrust of the tower. A verandah runs across the full width of the front of the house; its roofline is carried around to the sides of the house by the roofs of one story, three-sided bay windows on the sides. The full front porch and the second story windows are protected from the sun by awnings. Decorative detail abounds. Window surrounds, eared at the bottom, have a variety of window caps, peaked, curved, half-round, and a combination thereof. Their outlines are followed by the bottom molding of the frieze of the second floor cornice. The consoles have exhuberant profiles; the porch posts are elaborately carved; and there is a foliate pattern in the face of a small pediment over the second floor pavilion cornice. A gazebo in the garden is painted green and yellow, the same colors as the main house.

There are three churches within the historic district. I have pictures of two, but one will have to wait until next week. It’s on the campus of the private academy, and I’ll include it when I present those buildings. One more building that is include in the nomination form is the rectory of St. Joseph’s Church. I’ll use their description.

Still another style, the Italianate, is represented by the rectory of St. Joseph’s Church, 166 South Main Street. This large, square, wooden house is noteworthy for its two story front porch at the center of the facade and for its unusually elaborate roof overhang. At each front corner of the porch is a fluted column with odd octagonal flared capitals supporting a square abacus, and at each back corner a fluted, engaged half-column with similar capital and abacus. On the upper rail of the second story porch balustrade is a line of pointed finials. The four posts of the porch at this level are heavy and boldly carved, terminating in brackets with drop finials that support the roof. The wide overhang of the main roof is supported by similar but heavier brackets. In the roof soffit, beyond the ends of the brackets, is an egg and dart molding running parallel with the eaves. Narrow horizontal attic windows with four vertical panes are snug under the overhang on a level with the brackets. The house is covered with aluminum siding that does not obscure the original detail.

These doors, and a few others, including some that I don’t have current pictures of, are presented today in conjunction with Norm Frampton’s fun weekly blogfest called Thursday Doors. Each week, Norm invites door lovers from around the world to share interesting doors by linking their stories on his website. If you’re interested in seeing Norm’s doors and those of many others, just visit Norm’s page.


  1. Stunning pictures! But that big yellow house was the picture in my head when I wrote: “He’s Dead”! It’s a creepy, funny, ghost story I wrote a few years ago. Wow, gave me a shock. “Ah, yes, the house. It had been built in the early 1900’s. It was three stories tall and had a veranda that encircled the main floor. It was an imposing abode that had seen better days. More than a hundred years had wandered through the rooms of that house. What had been said and done on those solid wood floors?”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Dan – love the ‘Second Empire’ … while some of the others are pretty amazing … it’d be great to have an inside tour of some of them. The church too – that’s a nice house for the rector to live in … stunning area – but as you say a reasonably well off area … looking forward to the others – take care – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The photos are great, Dan. You’d best hold on to them – lest the riots continue to spread and they are defaced or ruined like the WWII Memorial in D.C. and the 100-year old Doughboy monument.
    I bragged yesterday that the riots didn’t hit my neighborhood and then I woke up this morning only to see them marching down our main street. We have a lot of history downtown, so I’m holding my breath.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope the area survived unscathed GP. There is no reason on earth to deface the WWII Memorial. There will be a protest march through this area, but I’m guessing it will be peaceful. In some small towns here, the police have been marching with the crowd. I hope it stays peaceful.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Outstanding! I would love to explore inside these gorgeous homes. Everything about the “Second Empire” knocked my socks off….and those rocking chairs on the porch are calling me to come and sit for awhile!

    But I have to say, I do also love that rustic looking beauty too. ‘Simple elegance’ indeed.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you liked the simple house, too. The yellow one is amazing but it’s a bit much for me (although I’d love a peek inside). And, yes, I think I could sit and rock for a bit.

      I hope you’re having a good week, Ginger. Maddie and I walked earlier – it’s already hot.


  5. I was good with the St Joseph rectory description until ‘aluminum siding.’ Our historic districts do not allow that. I cannot imagine what a painter gets for a job the size of these homes! Each of these is so beautiful. Aside from the maintenance costs, I think I could happily live in any one of them.


  6. Dan, thanks for the “stroll” around this fascinating and beautiful area. I love the “well maintained” home. The rectory is fabulous — the contrast in trim color really sets it apart, but the top part is what makes it so fab. However, that yellow house… I’m in love with that house. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the style of the featured house, just not that shade of yellow for it. That’s subjective though. 😀

    I like the simple elegance cabin too.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the places you’re saving up for a proper post about them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t see colors well enough to comment on them, but I’ve never been a fan of yellow. Still, that house is remarkable. I hope the two museums do open when they are allowed to. They are both volunteer run organizations (as far as I know).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That featured house is knock-your-socks-off gorgeous! It’s a style of architecture that reminds us of different time. They don’t build’em like that anymore but luckily most of the ones that remain are properly appreciated and well-preserved. Excellent post Dan :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so happy to see these places being so well maintained. There’s an active project going on about a mile away. I hope to get some pictures of that. The owners really do deserve credit for preserving them.

      I can’t even imagine building a house like this. On the one hand, it should be easier today. On the other hand, you might have to be crazy to try.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like those, John. I like those photos and I really like the descriptions. I figure, this is the description the previous owners thought was important enough to accompany the application, Of course, I also like the fact that they describe the architecture in great detail.


  9. That first house knocked my socks off (or would have had I been wearing any–too hot for that.) I like the one you have captioned “A modern look to an historic building.” More liveable. But thank goodness I don’t have to paint or more likely pay for painting any of those beauties!


    Liked by 1 person

    • I have the same thought, ever time I see those houses. I don’t like to paint to begin with. I do give the owners (all of them) a big thumbs up for keeping these houses in such remarkable shape. I was surprised to see awnings on 70’s version of the featured house. Most historic districts wouldn’t allow that today.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautiful buildings with lovely doors. I tend to be practical so my first thought is about how difficult it’d be to paint those exteriors. But when someone else do it, I love the look.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like these, Paul. It’s like going back in time. We haven’t built like this for a long time. I find the architecture amazing, particularly given the tools available at the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wonderful collection, Dan. I particularly love the simple home…it has a charm that is alluring. Hope you have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You have again a lovely collection of grand old homes, but as you mentioned, the maintenance of these properties has to be significant.

    I grew up in a yellow house, so I will always have a soft spot for a yellow house … especially one as magnificent as in the feature photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did some work in a couple when I had my cabinet shop. Unless they’ve been renovated, the square-ish houses probably have the staircase directly behind the door with a hallway on the side of the stairs and either two rooms on each side or two on one side and one long room. Probably the same upstairs. They didn’t have building materials that would let them span very wide spaces.

      Liked by 1 person

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