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Sign for the Collins Hotel
1825-1835
Painter:Painted by Unknown
Original Owner:Originally owned by Ahira Collins , American, died 1862
Paint on pine board and moldings, smalt, gold leaf, iron hardware
Primary Dimensions (height x width including hardware): 40 x 71in. (101.6 x 180.3cm) Other (height x width of sign only ): 37 1/4 x 70 1/2in. (94.6 x 179.1cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Newton C. Brainard
Gallery Copy: The Collins Hotel stood on the road from New Haven to Albany, along the stagecoach line. In addition to the inn, the Collins family operated the post office and a general store with a bowling alley in the basement. The coming of the railroad in 1849 drew traffic away from Straitsville and the inn closed sometime after 1850. The 1811 date on the sign probably commemorates the inn’s founding.
Description: Images: None. Text: On both sides, top line, "COLLINS' " over "COLLINS", middle line, "1811", bottom line, "HOTEL." over "HOTEL". Construction: Two boards, grain oriented horizontally. Boards are joined with four dowels. Moldings are nailed to the outer edges and mitered in corners. The moldings are not grooved for the board.
Historical Note: Original location. The Collins Hotel stood in an area known as Straitsville, where the New Haven-Albany road passes through a narrow defile between two rugged cliffs. Ahira Collins bought land and buildings there in 1809, a dozen years after the Straits Turnpike Company had been authorized in 1797, to run regular stages from New Haven to Litchfield by way of Straitsville. The inn, erected ca. 1800-10, has traditionally been attributed to Waterbury-based architect-builder David Hoadley (1774-1839). It had an imposing, two-story colonnaded front, three front entrances opening into separate rooms, ballroom, tap room, and sitting rooms. In addition to the inn, the Collins family also operated the Straitsville post office and a general store with bowling alley in the basement. According to Lathrop, Early American Inns, the Collins inn sign "used to hang across the street suspended from long poles by chains." The coming of the railroad in 1849 drew traffic away from Straitsville, and the inn closed at an undetermined date after 1850. Straitsville was a part of the town of Woodbridge until 1832, at which time it became part of the new town of Bethany. In 1844 it was added to the town of Naugatuck.
Object Number: 1957.66.1
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