The East Branch of Fever Brook runs through the village, one of several sacrificed for the construction of Quabbin Reservoir. As a result of the flooding of the Swift River Valley, the mouth of the brook has been pushed back to the eastern shoreline of Quabbin, closer to the village itself. Under the surface of Quabbin, running parallel to the shoreline to the west of Rattlesnake Hill, is the bed of the East Branch of Fever Brook. It connects with the sunken streambed of the West Branch of Fever Brook under the reservoir between Rattlesnake Hill and the extreme southern tip of North Dana peninsula. Before Quabbin, the West Branch of Fever Brook met the Middle Branch of the Swift River between the southern tip of the west side of the North Dana peninsula and the northern tip of Mt. Zion.
According to UMass Professor and diver Ed Klekowski in the documentary "Under Quabbin," the currents of the rivers under Quabbin still have an effect on water movement and even riverbed erosion, as evidenced by an abandoned and forgotten dump off the North Dana peninsula shoreline discovered and filmed by divers exploring the depths of the reservoir. Apparently the dump, located on the Middle Branch of the Swift River, was covered at the time of the valley's flooding and had only been exposed after many years of the river's unstoppable current washing over it.
The harnessable power of water current was no secret to the early settlers of the Swift River Valley. Beginning in the mid-18th century mills were built on the many rivers and streams in the area, for sawing wood, grinding grain and shaping steel, among other useful things.
The East Branch of Fever Brook has two sites where the remains of mills, known as the Doubleday Mills after the family that the village is also named after, can be seen.
The upper mill site is located where the East Branch of Fever Brook intersects the road heading west that connects the old Monson Turnpike to Doubleday Road. You can't miss it on the north side of the road. It's actually a very beautiful spot on the brook, which widens out on the south side of the road. Chances are excellent you'll see a blue heron in there somewhere.
The lower mill site is closer to the shoreline of Quabbin. Walking on Doubleday road heading toward the shoreline (southwest), the road to the second mill ruins will be on your right, not very far before the water's edge. This mill can also be reached via the north-south road that runs parallel to Rattlesnake Hill, on its east side. When the brook is low, you can cross by stepping on the old stones of the mill's foundation. This is handy if you want to hike a loop.
There were at least six homes along Doubleday Road in the area of the lower mill site. The Doubleday Village Common was located not far north of the mill site and can be seen today as a clearing in the woods.
The island looking across and southwest from the end of Doubleday Road at the Quabbin Shoreline is Leveau Island. Doubleday Road, traveling west, passed Leveau to the south on its way to connecting with the Monson Turnpike at the base of the east side of Mt. Zion.
Doubleday Village, like many Quabbin hiking destinations, can be reached a number of ways. I hiked there via the Federated Women's Club State Forest in Petersham. Gate 37 is another entry point. Both are north of the village. Both spots can be accessed off the south side of Route 122, between Routes 32a and 202.
My best advice is to get yourself a topographical map of the area. There are many roads in this particular area, most of them long and without a lot of connecting points in between. A wrong turn could mean a very bad day hiking. I use a simple map I grabbed off the internet and laminated with some stuff I had laying around. Some say cheap, I say frugal.
I started my hike from the Federated Womens Club State Forest in Petersham, where I was camping. This is the West Branch of the Fever Brook at sunrise.
The old foundation of the Hannafin family home, local farmers. The Foster's lived next door, between the Hannafin farm and the East Branch of Fever Brook.
Looking northwest from the end of Doubleday Road. The North Dana peninsula is across the water on the right hand side. Mt. L is behind the little island on the left. In the far background between the two is Prescott peninsula. The Prescott peninsula is off limits to the public and is home to the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory.
An old pipe near the end of Doubleday Road. Quabbin was very low when these photos were taken in 2002.
Looking west from ridge above the mouth of the East Branch of Fever Brook. Mt. L is in the distance on the right, Leveau Island is on the left.
The mouth of the West Branch of Fever Brook from Monson Turnpike Road, pretty much completing our circle.
To find maps of the Quabbin and Central and Western Massachusetts, check out the EWM page Trails, Rails & Roads: Maps.
For more about Quabbin history, take a look at the EWM exclusive The Quabbin Chronology.
As always, thanks for stopping by and take care!