About the Farm
The Northeast Corner of Suffield
The northeast corner of Suffield has a long farming history dating to the 1600s. Early settlers recognized the rich soils as well as protection from attackers afforded by the area’s location on a steep rise high above the Connecticut River. Many generations called this corner home, including the Sykes/Sikes family, a notable Suffield dynasty with ties to the early settlers.
A Farm is Born: George Hendee
From 1913-1925 George Hendee, of Indian Motorcycle fame, purchased 24 parcels in this corner of town and created Hilltop Farm. Hendee’s holdings ultimately totaled 500 acres, a good-sized operation in the Northeast for the early 20th century. Hendee lived at Hilltop until 1940 when ill health forced him to sell.
Hilltop Farm is home to an eagle's nest. Photo by Ray Pioggia.
The Farm Continues: Charles Stroh
Charles Stroh, a prominent Connecticut attorney and public servant, bought the farm from Hendee in 1940. Over the years he downsized operations and subdivided the farm. He died in 1992. Farming on the remaining 250 acres ceased in 1998. In 2002, the Town of Suffield acquired 117 acres and private buyers acquired the remainder.
The “Monster” Barn
Construction of Hendee’s signature dairy barn, a landmark in Suffield and “one of the finest in the state,” was completed in 1914. It boasted modern and sanitary features, many of them operated automatically. The farm developed renown under both Hendee and Stroh for its prize-winning dairy cows and poultry.
Connecticut's Agricultural Cathedral.
A Farm Preserved: The Friends
In 2004, The Friends of the Farm at Hilltop began managing the farm under lease agreements with a private owner and the Town of Suffield.
In 2005, The Friends succeeded in getting the mammoth 18,700 square foot Colonial Revival barn and additional structures on 250 acres of the farm listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the Hilltop Farm Historic District.
In 2013, The Friends were finally able to purchase the 7.9-acre farmstead that includes the big white dairy barn, the chicken coop, three houses, and several other farm buildings. In 2022, The Friends purchased the adjacent Stroh house on 3 acres to the south of the barn.