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P.O. Box 168
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Collinsville, CT 06022


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WORKERS COTTAGES on BRIDGE AND CHURCH STREETS 

    

Looking west after crossing the bridge is a community of workers cottages. The same as those described on Main Street, they were as essential to Collins Company operations as the factory buildings themselves. They were among the first structures built after the original mill. The first 21 of these double houses were constructed in 1831 on the east side of the river, another 24 being built the following year.  Built at a cost of $500 each, they rented for $25 per year. At the time, wages were $12 to $16 per month and paid once each year. The company would ultimately own 195 houses of various types. It had a force of carpenters, plumbers, painters, paperhangers and other workmen to keep them in repair.


John Stilgoe, a professor of landscape at Harvard, has noted that these cottages were the advent of “a new sort of community space – the village of identical houses.” Their beauty was recognized by John Warner Barber who, in the course of visiting each town in the state while compiling a book, came to Collinsville in 1836 and observed that these houses “which are built precisely of the same form, are compactly set together on the side of a hill rising with considerable abruptness from the water” and “are painted white and when contrasted with the deep green foliage in the immediate vicinity, present a novel, and beautiful appearance.” Grindstones from the factory can be seen in several places, often recycled as retaining walls.