Saturday, December 20, 2008

Quabbin Photos: Traces of Man, North Dana

Bricks 'n' stone on the eastern shoreline of North Dana. North Dana was a village of the town of Dana, Massachusetts. The four towns of Dana, Prescott, Enfield and Greenwich - located in the Swift River Valley - were flooded for the creation of Quabbin Reservoir, which is part of Boston's public drinking water supply.

Overgrown entrance to the former Wade family property in Petersham.

The old community well for the village of North Dana. This well, located on the hill above the North Dana's village proper, is about eight feet in diameter and very deep. It provided gravity-fed water to the village below.

Eye bolt lagged in stone on the western shoreline of North Dana.

Cellar hole near Gate 37 in Petersham.

Lag bolts sunk in stone near Methodist Point on the southern shoreline of North Dana. The flooded village's Methodist church was located just offshore from this area. Mount L is in the background.

The foundation of the former homestead of the Hale family in North Dana.

Leaf springs uncovered at low water on the eastern shoreline of North Dana. The flooding of the Swift River Valley commenced on August 14, 1939. On June 22, 1946, Quabbin was filled to capacity (412 billion gallons) for the first time.

The Monson Turnpike - running along the eastern shoreline of North Dana - looking south.

Some of the asphalt of the old Monson Turnpike road remains though decades have passed. This segment traverses the eastern shoreline of the village of North Dana on its way to Greenwich, Enfield and Belchertown and other points south.

An old car fender battles the passing of years and march of nature in the woods of North Dana.

An old water pipe on the southern shoreline of North Dana.

Bits of broken glass, china and brick accompany this old water supply pipe in the mix of memory along the southern shoreline of North Dana. Terrain-wise, North Dana became a peninsula with the flooding of the Swift River Valley.

An old telephone pole lurks in the trees incognito on the southern shoreline of North Dana.

North Dana's Rohan family once made their home here. Some of the abandoned foundations encountered in exploration look solid enough to build on still.

A well north of the Rohan home in North Dana.

The end of the line. Old Route 21 fades away to the south on the eastern shoreline of North Dana.

For more on Quabbin Reservoir, take a look at the EWM exclusive The Quabbin Chronology: A Timeline of the Swift River Valley, or visit EWM's The Quabbin Page, a collection of dozens of Quabbin-related links.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

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Anonymous said...

Excellent photos. Cool and creepy at the same time. Tells a great story.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you so much for taking and sharing these evocative photos. I am researching my ancestors who were early settlers in Greenwich in the 1700s, and it is terrific to be able to see what is left now that a reservoir covers their former homes and farms. Your photos of the faded asphalt roads are especially amazing.

Anonymous said...

What wonderful photos of remaining
North Dana. A family member has
memories of playing in an orchestra
at some sort of hall in North Dana
in or around 1938--perhaps a New
Year's celebration. Where could I
find more information about this?


Mark T. Alamed said...

Thanks everyone! I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

The name of the band that played the Enfield Farewell Ball on April 27, 1938, was McEnelly's Orchestra. More than 3,000 people bought a $1 ticket to attend the event.

Here is a post with a mention of the event with some old postcards of Enfield:

For more resources on exploring Quabbin, check out 'The Quabbin Page' link in the right sidebar of EWM. You may find 'The Quabbin Chronology'(also linked to from the sidebar) helpful, as well.

Thanks again!

Frances said...

Very cool photos. I am very interested in this piece of history and would like to explore it with my family. Do you know how far we would have to walk or bike to get the Dana? Google maps takes us to Hardwick Rd, do you know if it is passable? I have a new camera which is beckoning me. Thanks- Fran

Mark T. Alamed said...


So sorry for my delayed response.

Dana Town Common is about two miles from Gate 40 off of Hardwick Rd (Rte. 32a). It's a great walk with a million things to see. There's an EWM page dedicated to Quabbin, with all kinds of links and photos that you and other folks might find helpful in your exploration.

Here's a link:

The Quabbin Page

North Dana (where these photos were taken) is northwest of the town common and can be accessed multiple ways via the gates above #40. Google Maps or Google Earth are great resources to use before you head in.

Take care!


Jon said...

The lag bolts in a couple of the photos once supported a flagpole. In Donald Howe's book, there is a picture of North Dana, taken from a hillside behind the Methodist Church, in which the flagpole can clearly be seen near the church and the building housing Dr. Witt's office and the store later run by Myron Doubleday. Myron's son Warren, or "Bun" as everyone called him, remembered climbing the flagpole as a boy.

A socket for the flagpole can be seen centered among the four lag bolts in one of the pictures.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

My grandmother was a resident of North Dana. She spent most of her adult life building an archive of what happen here. Very sad and fascinting at the same time.

Dana Wilson said...

Hey, folks! Does anyone know how Dana got it's name? They say the town/towns in this area are haunted. Interestingly enough I was named after the town. My mother visited there when she was a little girl and said she got some weird premonition - some feeling came over her that she couldn't understand. However, years later when I was born she told my dad she had to name me Dana. For me I don't know what to think - I know this, I've had a strange calling to go there for years. When I did the most remarkable things occurred. Anyway, for now I'm just wondering how the town got it's name. thanks, Dana

Jon said...

The town was named after Francis Dana, an eartly Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. His grave is on Cambridge Common, opposite the Harvard campus.