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Collinsville: A Tennessee town that lost its name and then got it back
By Tom Adkinson
June 16, 2023

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historic collinsville pioneer settlement
A substantial two-story house is the visitors’ center for the Collinsville Pioneer Settlement in Montgomery County, Tenn. Image by Tom Adkinson

CLARKSVILLE Tenn. – The Collinsville Pioneer Settlement never existed in the form you see it today, although there really was a town of Collinsville back in the 1870s. The Collinsville of yesteryear was significant enough to have its own post office, but that actually hastened it demise.

As the story goes, there was enough postal confusion between Collinsville, which is near Clarksville in Middle Tennessee, and Collierville near Memphis in West Tennessee, that one of the names was doomed. Collierville won out, and Collinsville became Southside about 1880.

collinsville marlin road string band
The Marlin Road Band from Springfield, Tenn., plays old-time music on the porch of the Batson House during a special event. Image by Tom Adkinson

Today’s Collinsville Pioneer Settlement is a history-filled collection of 16 log structures on 44 wooded acres. Although Montgomery County owns it and Visit Clarksville operates it, the collection of pioneer buildings was a passion project of two private citizens, JoAnn and Glenn Weakley.

collinsville antique high chair
Buildings at the Collinsville Pioneer Settlement are filled with artifacts from the 1800s, including this wooden high chair. Image by Tom Adkinson

collinsville barn
You are welcome to stroll among the 16 buildings relocated onto the 44 acres of the Collinsville Pioneer Settlement. Image by Tom Adkinson


There are houses, barns, a blacksmith shop, a corncrib, a schoolhouse and other structures, whose original owners built them between 1830 and the end of the 19th century. The Weakleys began acquiring them in 1974, mainly from locations in Montgomery County, and relocating them to a site just a few miles from where the original Collinsville existed.

A smokehouse built in 1842 contains an immense saltbox for curing meat that was hand-hewn from a single poplar tree.

Slavery’s reality is acknowledged through a slave cabin that originally was at the 12,000-acre Cabin Row Plantation.

A substantial chicken coop led a double life. It also was a workshop for itinerant cobblers who would travel from one small community to another. When they ran out of customers in one place, they’d move on.

Mark Britton Collinsville Pioneer Settlement
Mark Britton, along with Kristi Proctor, schedules a variety of special programs to show off aspects of pioneer life at the Collinsville Pioneer Settlement.
Image by Tom Adkinson

Kristy Proctor and Mark Britton breathe life into the historic buildings with a variety of special programs. Proctor was a teacher for 30 years, and Britton worked in manufacturing management.

“Collinsville shows where we came from and how much work it took to live,” Britton noted as he passed by the settlement’s blacksmith shop, adding that a blacksmith often fires up the forge for metalworking demonstrations.

“The sound of the blacksmith’s hammer is very fitting in this setting,” he observed.

collinsville weaver wendy levier
Volunteer Wendy Levier says she enjoys having “a place to come play” as she demonstrates operation of a pioneer loom.
Image by Tom Adkinson

The nearby loom house is not nearly as noisy, but weaver Wendy Levier can draw as much attention as the blacksmith as she explains the setup of the loom and the amount of planning and labor needed to create cloth.

“I’m grateful to have a place to come play,” Levier said with a smile, explaining that she has been a living history demonstrator for more than two decades.

Most programming at Collinsville occurs in spring, summer and fall. The calendar includes an Independence Day celebration, a photography and painting program in September, lantern tours in October, “Spooky Stories and S’mores” at Halloween and a Tennessee Christmas event in December.

Even in slow months, Proctor and Britton welcome contact for individual visits.

“As long as we’re going to be here, we’re happy to see you. Just call ahead,” Britton said.

Trip-planning resources:, and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is included in the third edition of the book, which is available at

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