Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Quabbin Chronology: 1900 - 1999

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1900 October 1 - Contract for building Wachusett Reservoir Dam in the town of Clinton is approved.

1901 August 22 - The town of Dana's Centennial Anniversary is celebrated.

1904 August 2 - The town of Greenwich celebrates its 150th anniversary.

1906 February 27 - Wachusett Reservoir Dam on the South Branch of Nashua River in Clinton is finished. Construction on the 114 foot high dam was begun in 1897. The Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs are linked by a 25 mile long aqueduct, and supply water to the residents of Boston, and many other Eastern Massachusetts cities and towns.

1908 May 10 - Wachusett Reservoir hits the high water mark for the first time. It has a surface area of 6.46 square miles and when full, holds almost 65 billion gallons. In 1908, it is the largest reservoir in the world.

1911 May 19 -Fire strikes Shutesbury's 27-year old Congregational Church.

1921 January - The Metropolitan Water and Sewer Board, headed by X. Henry Goodnough, proposes the construction of a reservoir to meet Boston's water needs to be located in the Swift River Valley.

1922 August 25 - The town of Prescott celebrates its Centennial.

1924 December 31 - The Post Office in Prescott closes.

1926 January 1 - X. Henry Goodnough's "Rainfall in New England" is published by the New England Water Works Association. Goodnough Dike in Quabbin Park was named in his honor.

1926 May 28 - The Ware River Supply Act passes Massachusetts Legislature, paving the way for construction of a 12 mile long aqueduct, known as the Wachusett-Coldbrook Tunnel connecting the Ware River to the Wachusett Reservoir.

1926 July 28 - Davis B. Keniston appointed by Governor Alvan T. Fuller as first Chairman of Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission. Joseph H. Soliday and Charles M. Davenport appointed Associate Commissioners.

1926 September 30 - Providence, Rhode Island's $21,000,000 water system declared officially operational at a ceremony in the town of Foster presided over by Mayor Joseph H. Gainer. Chief Engineer for the project, which was begun in 1915, was Frank E. Winsor who received wide praise for his engineering and management skills. Winsor was appointed Chief Engineer for the Massachusetts District Water Supply Commission the next day. His contribution to the development of the Quabbin Reservoir project was instrumental to its completion.

1926 October 1 - Frank E. Winsor appointed Chief Engineer of Quabbin project. The Winsor Dam is named in his honor. In 1892, Winsor had the distinction of receiving the first degree of Civil Engineer awarded by Brown University in Rhode Island.

1926 October 16 - Karl R. Kennison named Designing Engineer.

1926 October 27 - Harold W. Horne appointed Assistant Division Engineer.

1926 November 29 - Walton H. Sears appointed Mechanical Engineer. Frederick W. Gow named Assistant Engineer.

1926 December 1 - N. Leroy Hammond is appointed Assistant Division Engineer.

1927 March 3 - R. Nelson Molt assumes duties as Secretary of the Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission.

1927 April 1 - Walter Knowles appointed Assistant Engineer.

1927 April 26 - The Massachusetts Legislature approves the Swift River Act, funding the construction of the Quabbin Reservoir in the Swift River Valley.

1927 June 1 - N. Leroy Hammond and Harold W. Horne both promoted to Division Engineer from Assistant Division Engineer.

1927 August 1 - Richard R. Bradbury appointed Division Engineer.

1927 September - Walter E. Clark begins work as appraiser/agent for the Massachusetts District Water Supply Commission. Clark also authored "Quabbin Reservoir," a detailed account of the creation of Quabbin from an insider's point of view, published in 1946, and reissued by J.R. Greene in 1994. Greene, an accomplished author himself, is widely regarded as today's preeminent authority on Quabbin history and lore.

1927 September 26 - The Post Office in North Prescott closes its doors for the last time.

1928 January 1 - X. Henry Goodnough's "Rainfall in New England During the Storm November 3 and 4, 1927" is published by the New England Water Works Association.

1928 May 23 - Death of Division Engineer Harold W. Horne.

1928 June 24 - Last service held at the First Congregational Church in Prescott

1928 June 25 - The Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission assumes the town of Prescott's affairs through an act of the Massachusetts Legislature. The Commission's Agents are Frank R. Allen and Walter M. Waugh, with Fred W. Doubleday acting as Superintendent of Streets.

1928 July 9 - William W. Peabody is named Division Engineer. Peabody previously worked with Quabbin Chief Engineer Frank E. Winsor on the Scituate Reservoir project in Rhode Island.

1928 September 6 - Stanley M. Dore appointed Assistant Engineer.

1929 June 1 - Death of Walter Knowles, Assistant Engineer.

1929 October 29 - The stock market crashes on a day that would become known to history as "Black Tuesday" and which signalled the beginning of the "Great Depression."

1931 March - The aqueduct connecting the Ware River and Wachusett Reservoir is completed.

1931 July 29 - Joseph H. Soliday ends tenure as Associate Commissioner of MDWSC. Thomas D. Lavelle assumes Associate Commissioner position.

1933 March 31 - The Civilian Conservation Corps is created as a result of the Reforestation Relief Act. The Corps was also referred to as the "3 Cs"

1934 September 26 - Karl R. Kennison promoted from Designing Engineer to Assistant Chief Engineer. After Quabbin, he would go on to run the New York City water system.

1934 December 27 - Davis B. Keniston ends tenure as Chairman of Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission.

1934 December 28 - Eugene C. Hultman takes over as Chairman of MDWSC, replacing Davis B. Keniston.

1935 June 1 - The Athol and Enfield Railroad, known as the "Rabbit Run" because of its frequent stops, reaches the end of the track, ceasing operations. It had been a division of the Boston and Albany Railroad system since 1880.

1935 November 1 - Stanley M. Dore becomes Associate Civil Engineer, promoted from Assistant Engineer. Frederick W. Gow is also promoted from Assistant Engineer, to Senior Civil Engineer.

1935 December 16 - Richard R. Bradbury becomes Senior Civil Engineer.

1936 March 31 - Richard R. Bradbury ends tenure as Senior Civil Engineer.

1936 August 2 - The Congregational Church in Enfield burns under suspicious circumstances. It was built in 1787. It is widely believed that the fire was caused by "Woodpeckers," men from out of town hired to work on the Quabbin project felling trees Most had little or no experience and the majority received their jobs as a result of the cronyism and graft prevelant in Boston at the time.

1936 August 12 - Charles M. Davenport ends as Associate Commissioner on the Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission.

1936 August 13 - Edward J. Kelley appointed Associate Commissioner of MDWSC.

1936 October 31 - N. Leroy Hammond ends service as Division Engineer.

1937 May 6 - The Hindenburg bursts into flames while attempting to moor in Lakehurst, NJ, resulting in the deaths of 36 out of 97 passengers and crew members, including one Navy Linesman in the ground crew.

1938 February 14 - Greenwich has its last town meeting. This date is taken from Walter E. Clarke's book "Quabbin Reservoir," and differs from the date of April 21, 1938 given by the author J.R. Greene in his book "The Day Four Quabbin Towns Died."

1938 March 7 - Dana holds its last town meeting.

1938 March 25 - Enfield Town Hall serves as site of town's farewell gathering.

1938 March 28 - Final plans are filed by the Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission for the massive land-taking required for the creation of Quabbin. In all, 117 square miles become watershed property.

1938 April 8 - Enfield's last town meeting is held.

1938 April 11 - Enfield Fire Department meets to plan the Farewell Ball, 16 days away. A Ball had been held annually in Enfield since 1901.

1938 April 12 - Last meeting of the womans group, the Quabbin Club of Enfield. The club had been established around the turn of the century.

1938 April 21 - Greenwich has its last town meeting. This date is taken from J.R. Greene's book "The Day Four Quabbin Towns Died," and differs from author and MDWSC employee Walter E. Clarke's account in his book "Quabbin Reservoir," which records the date of the last town meeting as February 14, 1938.

1938 April 26 - Governor Charles F. Hurley signs Chapter 240 of the Acts and Resolves of April 26, 1938, passed earlier by the Massachusetts General Court, annexing the towns of Dana, Prescott, Greenwich and Enfield to surrounding towns, effectively ending their existence on April 28, 1938 at 12:01 A.M.

1938 April 27 - Enfield Fire Department hosts a Farewell Ball at the Town Hall. Enfield was reported to have been inundated with a crowd of three thousand people that evening, although one thousand was the maximum that could fit in the Hall. McNelly's Orchestra performed, playing "Auld Lang Syne" at the stroke of midnight for the emotional, yet subdued residents of the four now defunct towns. The cost to attend the affair was one dollar.

1938 April 28 - The towns of Enfield, Greenwich, Dana and Prescott cease to exist.

1938 April 28 - Fire consumes 250 acres in Greenwich before it is contained.

1938 May 11 - A farewell gathering is held in Moore's Hall in the village of Millington.

1938 June 14 - Final ceremony for grade school graduates at Greenwich's school.

1938 June 15 - Smallest graduating class in the history of the school of the Town of Dana. Three pupils participate in commencement ceremonies, with the double distinction of being the school's last graduating class.

1938 June 16 - Greenwich Grange #245, established in 1905, ended its charter. The Enfield Grange ended its charter at the same meeting, which had to be held in the Enfield Town Hall rather than the Grange Hall due to overwhelming attendance, reported to be upwards of 300 people.

1938 June 22 - Enfield holds last school commencement ceremony, with seven students graduating.

1938 July 30 - Last service at the Congregational Church, Dana Center.

1938 September 10 - Massachusetts Water District Supply Commission holds an auction of items it holds in the Quabbin Valley, from books to buildings. It is held in the Enfield Town Hall, which itself was sold that day for $550.00, a high price in comparison to the Enfield Grange Hall, which sold for the paltry sum of $35.00.

1938 September 21 - Devastating hurricane hits New England, resulting in thousands of trees down and millions of board feet of lumber lost in the Quabbin area. The water level at the Winsor Dam rises fifteen feet.

1938 October 10 - Frederick W. Gow advances from Senior Civil Engineer to Division Engineer.

1938 October 30 - Thousands of Americans panic when Orson Welle's "War of the Worlds" is broadcast on the Mercury Theater radio program , believing that the country is under attack from Martian invaders.

1938 December 28 - Contract for the manufacture of three miles of precast pipe to be used to connect the Wachusett and the Norumbega Reservoirs is awarded. The pressure aqueduct begins in Marlborough and ends in Weston.

1939 January 14 - The Enfield Post Office closes, having served the town for 116 years.

1939 January 30 - Death of Frank E. Winsor, highly-regarded original Chief Engineer of the Massachusetts District Water Supply Commission and head of the Quabbin Reservoir project. Winsor died while testifying in a court case.

1939 March 9 - Karl R. Kennison takes helm as Chief Engineer of project after the death of Frank E. Winsor. Stanley M. Dore replaces him as Assistant Chief Engineer.

1939 August 14 - The flooding of the Quabbin Valley commences.

1940 March 21 - Quabbin receives first flow of water from Ware River diversion.

1940 October 23 - Governor Leverett Saltonstall opens Quabbin's tap to Eastern Massachusetts residents at a ceremony at the Norumbega Reservoir in Weston. The dedication was also attended by Boston Mayor Maurice J. Tobin, who would himself become Governor in 1945.

1941 June 17 - Frank E. Winsor Memorial dedicated at Quabbin Park. Winsor was Chief Engineer of the massive undertaking of the creation of Quabbin reservoir until his death in 1939. He was also President of the Providence Engineering Society from 1921-1922.

1941 August 13 - Thomas D. Lavelle ends tenure as Associate Commissioner of MDWSC.

1941 August 14 - Charles H. Brown appointed Associate Commissioner of MDWSC.

1941 September 17 - Water begins to flow through the aqueduct connecting Quabbin with Wachuset Reservoir for the first time.

1941 September 18 - The Quabbin Reservoir officially comes online when Mrs. Eugene Hultman, wife of the MDWSC chairman, ceremoniously opens the spigot.

1944 December 15 - William W. Peabody ends service as Division Engineer.

1945 June - W.M. Morrisey is appointed Chairman of Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission by Governor Maurice J. Tobin.

1946 June 22 - Quabbin is filled to capacity, an astounding 412 billion gallons, for the first time. By the year 2005, the reservoir quenches the thirst of over 2.2 million people in eastern Massachusetts daily.

1946 July 5 - Shore fishing is first allowed.

1952 May 27 - Boat fishing is first allowed at Quabbin Reservoir.

1982 July 29 - American Bald Eagles released on Prescott Peninsula. Eagles are now fairly common sights at Quabbin.

1984 June 1 - Quabbin at highest recorded level, 103% full.

1984 December 7 - The Quabbin Visitor Center, located in the Administration Building at Quabbin Park in Ware, is opened. The Friends of Quabbin, Inc. is the organization instrumental to the Center's existence.

1985 July 1 - The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), established by the state legislature's Water Resources Act of 1984, takes over management of water distribution and sewer systems.

1987 October 8 - To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the destruction of Dana, Prescott, Enfield and Greenwich for the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir, Governor Michael Dukakis declares 1988 a "Year of Remembrance."

1988 April 27 - 50th Anniversary "Remembrance Ball" is held at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as part of year-long commemoration.

1988 June 16 - The Frank E. Winsor Memorial is rededicated as part of 50th anniversary of Quabbin commemoration.

1988 August 21 - Dana Common is the site of a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the centennial of the Town of Dana, which was actually in 1901. This is one of the "Year of Remembrance" events scheduled to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the four Quabbin towns' demise.

1988 October 8 - Time capsule interred at Quabbin Park Cemetary as part of 50th anniversary commemoration events. If all goes well, it will be dug up in the year 2038.

1988 November 3 - "Quabbin - A Musical" produced by the Ware Community Theater with the backing of the group The Friends of Quabbin debuts at the Ware High School Auditorium. Written by Dorothy A. Johnson and Steven Schoenberg of New Salem and directed by Nancy Howe Hyde, the musical depicts the final days of fictitious North Village and how the residents deal with the loss of their homes and town.

1990 December - Legislation passes allowing for the thinning of the deer herd in The Quabbin Watershed.

1991 August 20 - Opponents of the first planned deer hunt on Quabbin land, scheduled for December 2, 1991, file an injunction in U.S. District Court in Boston, ultimately failing in their bid to stop the hunt.

1991 December 2 - The first controlled deer hunt on Quabbin takes place in Pelham amidst protests from animal rights activists.

1997 April - Wildlife tracker John McCarter finds scat near animal remains and a cached beaver while hiking the western side of Quabbin that is later confirmed through DNA testing by two different wildlife biologists to have come from a cougar, also known as a mountain lion. The last mountain lion recorded in Massachusetts was in 1858, in Hampshire County. MassWildlife biologists confirm the results, but speculate that the scat was left by a lion that had been released from captivity.

1998 February 12 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency attempts through court injunction to require the construction of a filtration plant to treat the water drawn from Wachusett Reservoir. The MWRA and Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) are reprieved in a decision recorded May 5, 2000 in the United States District Court in Massachusetts.

1988 August 19 - Approximately 7,000 rainbow trout perish at McLaughlin Fish Hatchery in Belchertown when water temperature climbs from 58 to 78 degrees in a five hour span.

1999 July 29 - The depths of Quabbin are explored for the first time since its construction by a dive team led by explorers (UMass Emeritus Professor of Biology) Ed and Libby Klekowski (website), with the assistance of the Massachusetts State Police. The team made some surprising underwater discoveries, including old gravestones stacked as though about to be moved, and the North Dana town dump, which was more than likely still covered when the filling of the reservoir began. The last dive by the team was September 29, 1999. A video, "Under Quabbin," containing amazing and unique footage taken during the dives, was produced by the Klekowskis and chronicles their underwater adventure. It is interesting to note that the local PBS television station, WGBY, often uses "Under Quabbin" as an audience draw during its "pledge week," attesting to the video's popularity and the local interest it generates.

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The Quabbin Chronology Index:

Quabbin History by the Month - Same text in a January to December format.

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