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The Quabbin Reservoir (built on 4 towns)

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Author Topic: The Quabbin Reservoir (built on 4 towns)  (Read 1452 times)
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« on: July 05, 2009, 10:52:30 am »

During the 1920's it became apparent that Eastern Massachusetts did not have a large enough water supply to satisfy its growing needs for water. Thirsty Eastern Massachusetts inhabitants looked  westward to the Swift River 100 miles away. The Swift River flowed through some small towns nestled in the Swift River valley. Through a series of "buyouts" the inhabitants of these towns were tossed out of their homes in preparation for construction of a reservoir.   

 The Quabbin Reservoir is the now the largest body of water in Massachusetts. However, the area it now occupies once had four small towns and a network of roads and rail tracks running through it - all of which were flooded or displaced by the filling of the area with water. While some public structures, memorials and graves were moved out of the way many still sit today at the bottom of this body of water. Some nearby structures sit above the waterline but were abandoned without the adjacent buildings that sustained their use.

Houses were bulldozed, bodies dug up (except for Native Americans), factories demolished and millions acres of trees were cut down. Four towns: Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott were "discontinued"  and seven other towns were altered. A half mile long dam was built on the Swift River in Belchertown MA, and one of the longest tunnels in the world was constructed to carry the water a hundred miles to the east.

 Flooding of the valley started in mid August 1939 and in 1946 the reservior was filled to capacity ( 412 billion gallons.) Nearly 40 square miles were covered with water. The new reservoir was named after a Native American chief of a local tribe. The chief's name was Nani-Quaben. The name, which was given to a hill in Enfield and a lake in Greenwich means " well watered place."
Countless unnamed streams and brooks feed into the reservoir. When you are on the water you can look down and see the ghostly remains of old foundations and stonewalls built many years ago by the long dead inhabitants of the four lost towns. Some people claim that the Quabbin is haunted and if you've ever been within it's borders after dark you'd find yourself hard pressed to argue with them.   

Human activities within the wilderness and on the water are  restricted with huge areas off limits to people. Boat engine size is controlled and in order to get out onto the water you must have a fishing license, pleasure boating is not allowed.

The photos at above were taken from the same location on Great Quabbin Mountain about sixty years apart. The photos are all looking north. The top photo was taken in 1927, the middle in 1939 and the bottom in 1989.


Another good site I find as well :


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