Monday, October 29, 2012

Mysteries of the real-life Collinsport

There might be more to Essex, Conn., than meets the eye.

Used as the exterior of Collinsport in the original DARK SHADOWS television show, a number of locations made occasional appearances on the program during pre-recorded footage used to connect interior scenes. According to Wikipedia, the Collinsport Wharf, Main Street and the Evans Cottage were all physical locations in Essex.  The Griswold Inn in Essex was used for the Collinsport Inn and the town post office was used for the town Police Station.

But there's a stronger connection between the two towns than mere scenery. Last week, I received an e-mail from DARK SHADOWS fan Bill Branch, which asked a very interesting question:

"Why has no one ever mentioned these facts that I have discovered?"

 The Griswold Inn was purchased in 1972 by Bill and Victoria Winterer. "Obviously someone key to Dark Shadows knew the Winterers before they bought the Gris in ’72," says Branch, a Connecticut resident.

Also: "Close to Main Street Essex, there are two streets nearly side by side named Evans Lane and Collins Lane."

"Finally," he said, "in the cemetery behind the home used as Evans’ Cottage there is a grave for Barnabas Bates. This has to be where they got Barnabas from. These cannot be coincidences."

As a side note, Branch said the property used as the "Evans Cottage" was much larger than it appeared on DARK SHADOWS. He was able to visit the house during a Holiday Home Tour in the later '90s.

"This was after I had located it (and reported it at the Festival and in the fanzine INSIDE THE OLD HOUSE Issue 54/55) -- so I had to go," he said. "It was a thrill being able to go inside. The home was fairly sprawling, considering that it looks small from the front. Unfortunately this was before I got a digital camera – and I did not take photos." 

Branch was also kind enough to forward some photos of the DARK SHADOWS locations showing how they look today. What are your thoughts?


Melissa said...

Makes you wonder who the location scout was - Did Dan Curtis do his own scouting?

Anonymous said...

Wow how totally fascinating!

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure they got the name Barnabas from the Bible- as many of the names in DS are biblical names- Joshua, Jeremiah, David, Daniel,etc.

Unknown said...

Dan Curtis has said in the past that the name Barnabas came from a headstone in a cemetery.

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