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Files & Documents >> Visitor Documents >> Walking Tours (text) >> COLLINS COMPANY COMPLEX


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From the Farmington River bridge is visible a placid square of water known as the forebay. On the east side is a long, gable roofed wooden building with a cupola containing a bell. On the south side is a similar building with a three story brick building attached to it. Most of the factory complex stretches behind them. The complex is a mix of masonry, wood, and steel frame structures. The linear pattern of water powered shaft belt drives for the machinery dictated the alignment of the buildings along the river’s edge. The buildings were also laid out in accordance with the sequence of manufacture: casting at the south end, forging and finishing in the center, and packing and shipping at the northern end. 

Several buildings are framed so that the lower floor is supported directly on the basement foundation walls and the upper framing is suspended from the roof, thus providing a column free upper floor for the length of the building – a typical factory type. Many of the masonry buildings are constructed with piers spaced eight feet apart, also typical in New England. The stone building, completed in 1847 was probably built of stone quarried nearby. 

The buildings are massive in scale and contrast strongly with the classically styled buildings nearby on The Green. It is unusual that most of the factory buildings cannot be seen from the center of the village, though it was heard, especially pounding triphammers used to shape axe heads and other tools. Conversely, from within the complex, little of the town is visible. Views from the cemetery and the upper part of Dunne Avenue give some idea of the relationship between the town and the mill buildings.