The area in Poquonock just north of the bridge over the Farmington River was for decades a commercial center of the neighborhood. Starting in the mid-19th century, the businesses here served the growing immigrant populations who arrived to work in the nearby mills and tobacco farms.

c1895-1900s. Trolleys started running through Poquonock to Rainbow in the 1890s. The store on the right, just north of River Street, was a general store built in 1848, and at the time of the photo was run by Lemuel R. Lord. WHS collections 2000.30.149, courtesy of Julius Rusavage.

1920s-30s. John Collins had taken over the general store during this time period, and he must have seen the last of the trolleys roll by in 1932 when trolley service to Rainbow ended. WHS collections 2010.39.72, gift of James Silliman.

Late 1930s. In 1924, John Collins gained some competition from the Poquonock Central Market across the street, built and run by Lithuanian immigrant John Griskewicz. After Collins left, another Lithuanian family, the Blazis, took over his store. WHS collections 2010.39.3, gift of James Silliman.

1956. In 1952, the town started work on replacing the bridge over the Farmington River in Poquonock, and in the process, several businesses in Poquonock Center were demolished, including the Blazis store and the hardware store next door. WHS collections 2000.30.191, courtesy of Julius Rusavage.


by Michelle Tom, Librarian/Archivist, 2018