Company Town

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As well as touring the museum, visitors can paddle along the Farmington River on a craft rented from Collinsville Canoe & Kayak or simply walk its bank on the Farmington River Greenway, a pedestrian path built with a mix of government funds and private contributions. The three miles of Greenway that officially opened in July 2000 include a reconstructed trestle that trains to and from the factory formerly used to cross the river. Dependable transportation was crucial to his company’s success, and Sam Collins lured the Canal Line Railroad to town in 1850 with incentives that included a $3,000 cash bonus. An agreeable place to relax, inside or out on its long, narrow veranda, is LaSalle Market Café, which has an espresso bar, a pizzeria, and a long menu of tasty sandwiches.

Before leaving, be sure to drive up Cemetery Road to the hillside graveyard where in 1871 Sam Collins was buried. One day last summer it was the setting for a staged funeral, a scene in an independent producer’s first film. A crew member explained why the location was chosen by gesturing past gravestones down a slope that eventually bottoms at the old factory complex and the adjoining river; on the other side is a steep hill that generations of Collins Company workers ascended on their way home to the little double houses that still stand there. You don’t have to be a cinematographer to appreciate the view.

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