Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Quabbin Page

Quabbin Reservoir, built by displacing the residents of the four towns of Dana, Prescott, Greenwich and Enfield (as well as several villages) and then damming and flooding the Swift River Valley in Central Massachusetts, is a draw from all compass points.

Here's a handy page of Quabbin-related links to assist you on your Swift River Valley travels and explorations. (Updated September 17, 2010)

Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
251 Causeway Street, Suite 600
Boston, Massachusetts 02114-2104
(617) 626-1250

"The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is steward of one of the largest state parks systems in the country. Its 450,000 acres is made up of forests, parks, greenways, historic sites and landscapes, seashores, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and watersheds." ~From the DCR web site.

DCR Quabbin-related Web Pages:

Quabbin Reservoir:

Quabbin on Facebook

Ware River Watershed:

Wachusett Reservoir:

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Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Charleston Navy Yard
100 First Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02129
(617) 242-6000

"This website provides information on drinking water quality, the health of Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay, progress on projects to improve water and sewer infrastructure, community assessments, school education, and many other MWRA programs." ~From the MRWA web site.

MWRA Quabbin-related web pages:

Metropolitan Boston's Water System History - MWRA

A History of the Development of the Metropolitan District Commission Water Supply System (1984), Prepared by Wallace, Floyd, Associates Inc.

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Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife
1 Rabbit Hill Road
Westborough, Massachusetts 01581
(508) 389-6300

"The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) is responsible for the conservation - including restoration, protection and management - of fish and wildlife resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the public." ~From the MassWildlife web site.

MassWildlife's Quabbin Reservoir Web Page:

Abstracts of the 2010 Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife Laws (PDF)

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County Roads - Hampshire Council of Governments

Including the towns of Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott

Quabbin Gate 40: The Dana Greenwich Road

"The walk from the parking lot at Gate 40 to Dana common along the old Dana-Greenwich Road..."

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Quabbin Gate 40: Dana Town Common

"About a two mile walk from Gate 40 on Rte. 32a in Petersham, the common affords explorers the best glimpse into the past of a vanished Quabbin town."

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Quabbin Gate 40: The Road to Dana Common

"Quabbin's Gate 40 on Rte. 32a in Petersham is undoubtedly one of the most well-known and well-visited areas of the watershed."

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Quabbin Photos: Traces of Man, 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."

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A Hike to Doubleday Village

"These photographs are from a hike to Doubleday Village, located about halfway between Dana Common and North Dana in Petersham, Massachusetts, and nestled in the valley formed by Whitney Hill to the southeast and Rattlesnake Hill to the northwest."

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Doubleday Mill Site - Petersham

"These photographs were taken in Petersham, at an old mill site owned by the Doubleday family for whom Doubleday Village - its residents long displaced by the creation of Quabbin Reservoir - was named."

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Ice and Fog, Mist and Mountains: Photographs of Quabbin in March

Photographs of Quabbin from old Route 21, Petersham, Massachusetts

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Quabbin Gate 43: The Road to Greenwich Village

"Gate 43 is an important area of the Quabbin Reservoir. The reservoir's baffle dam is located here..."

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Greenwich, Massachusetts (1754 - 1938)

"The town of Greenwich was incorporated per Chapter 37 of the Massachusetts laws on April 20, 1754."

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Postcards From a Lost Town: Enfield, Massachusetts

"Before there was the Quabbin Reservoir, there was the Swift River Valley. There were the towns of Greenwich, Enfield, Prescott and Dana..."

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Quabbin History: Enfield's Last Town Meeting, April 8, 1938

"The last town meeting was held in Enfield, Massachusetts, in the Enfield Town Hall, on April 8, 1938, 20 days before the end of the town's official existence."

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Quabbin's Mt. Lizzie: Before & After

Photographs of Mt. Lizzie from the Goodnough Dike area.

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The Quabbin Chronology: A Timeline of the Swift River Valley

EWM exclusive time lines by year and month.

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Map: Hampshire County, Massachusetts, 1854

Including Enfield, Massachusetts.

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Dana, Ghosts of a Lost Town

"...lured by the stories we’ve heard of Dana’s ghosts. This is an account of our first paranormal investigation at the discontinued township." ~From the web site.

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Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory

"The FCRAO was founded in 1969 by the University of Massachusetts, together with Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College. From its inception, the Observatory has emphasized pioneering research, the development of state-of-the-art technology and the training of students -- both graduate and undergraduate." ~From the FCRAO web site.

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Friends of Quabbin, Inc.

"The Friends of Quabbin, Inc., was formed in 1984 as a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to increasing public awareness and appreciation of the unique natural and historical resources of the Quabbin Reservoir and Reservation" ~From the FOQ web site.

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Ghost Towns of Massachusetts -

Including the towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott.

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Haunting the Quabbin: Inside Out

"In this documentary, Inside Out's Sean Cole meets the valley residents who were forced to move out. They still have vivid memories of their lives in the towns that were destroyed.

Cole chronicles the dramatic manner in which the Swift River Valley was flooded and the effect on its residents. What happened is still part of who they are and how they live." ~From the Inside Out web site.

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Mass Moments: Quabbin Reservoir Filled to the Brim, June 22, 1946

"On this day in 1946, water flowed over the spillway and officials declared Quabbin Reservoir full. Construction took more than 20 years and required the obliteration of four towns in the Swift River Valley." ~From the Mass Moments web site.

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North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce

"The North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1982 to promote the economic stability of the nine town Athol/Orange region of Massachusetts." ~From the Chamber web site.

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North Quabbin Woods - Forestry, Wood Products, Recreation

"North Quabbin Woods is a project of the New England Forestry Foundation. The goal of the project is to revitalize the North Quabbin economy based on the sustainable use of local forest resources." ~From the NQW web site.

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Quabbin - Photos, Commentary

"When folk think about Massachusetts what probably comes to mind is Sen's. Kennedy and Kerry, or the City of Boston, Tanglewood, the Boston Pops, the Theatres, the many famous colleges. But, there is another side of Massachusetts, ...the woods." ~From the Woodsman's web site.

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Quabbin Park Cemetery -

"Quabbin Park Cemetery was established in 1938 when graves from smaller towns were relocated to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir. Approximately 6500 graves were moved to Quabbin Park Cemetery. There are many old gravestones, including many with interesting carvings and epitaphs." ~From the Grave Addiction web site.

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The Quabbin Reservoir - The Impact on Surrounding Towns, the History and the Making

"This web site was created by the 2004 fifth-grade class of Pelham Elementary School" ~From the students' web site.

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Quabbin Reservoir - Photography, History & Fishing

"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." ~From the web site.

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The Road Less Traveled, The Exploration of a Ghost Town Known as Dana, Massachusetts

"Dana was a quaint little town incorporated back in 1801. North Dana was the business district, having contributed largely to the farming industry and the palm-hat industry." ~From the web site.

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Third Graders Uncover the Quabbin

"The students in Ms. Convery's (Swift River School) class took the majority of photographs displayed on this site. They also conducted historical research from primary and secondary source materials and wrote the text descriptions displayed herein." ~From the students' web site.

Captain Lombard's House (c. 1767, moved from Enfield, Mass. in 1938)

"...thumbnail photos...with related historical notes." ~From the UFL web site.

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Satellite Photograph of Central Massachusetts - Smith College Science Dept. Web Site

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Quabbin on Flickr

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Quabbin Photo Gallery by Dick Cooper

"All images here were taken at Quabbin Reservation which is located in central Massachusetts, USA." ~Dick Cooper

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Quabbin Reservoir

"Almost 60 years after the flooding of the Swift River Valley, Ed Klekowski and his team of divers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst gained permission to dive the waters of the Quabbin Reservoir." ~From the web site.

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Thumbnails of Quabbin Reservoir - Town of Belchertown Web Site

Directions to the Quabbin Administration Building/Visitor Center at Quabbin Park, Belchertown Massachusetts

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Historical Road Maps, Franklin County, Massachusetts

"A series of maps in the same format allows one to determine in what year a particular change occurred. These maps were all scanned from Rand McNally Road Atlases." ~From the web site.

Note: These maps show the area before and after the Quabbin Reservoir was built in the 1930s.

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Historical Topographic Maps, Quabbin Reservoir, MA Quadrangle -

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UNH DIMOND LIBRARY, Documents Department & Data Center, Historic USGS Maps of New England & New York, Quabbin Reservoir, MA Quadrangle

Massachusetts DCR Quabbin Reservoir Fishing Guide 2010:

Books by J. R. Greene (List of works by preeminent Quabbin historian)

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Cougar Presence Recorded in Pelham - The Cougar Network

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Quabbin Quenches Boston's Thirst, By Stephen C. Hill, Staff Writer, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, Massachusetts (Posted on the Town of Belchertown's web site.)

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Quality at Quabbin, Boston Globe Editorial, November 21, 2004

"The Quabbin Reservoir, an 87,000-acre state reservation 65 miles from Boston, shows the ability of government to solve an essential societal problem -- assuring a supply of drinkable water to a large metropolitan area." ~From the Globe editorial.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

(Photographs: Mark T. Alamed)

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Matteny said...

Wonderful links, thanks so much!

Quabbin is one of my favorite places to spend a day, and your armchair tour is giving me the 'itch' to get there. Thanks!

Veritas said...

Growing up in western Massachusetts in the 1950's and 1960's, I was fortunate enough to hear some direct oral history from some of the participants in and victims of the Quabbin project. One of the more fascinating stories was from a man from Amherst who had worked on a crew disinterring graves for later burial at the Quabbin Cemetery. Some of these graves were nearly 200 years old and some quite recent. Workers had to wear surgical masks while removing remains. There was concern that tuberculosis bacteria could remain viable in the ground for hundreds of years so the emptied graves were filled with bags of calcium chloride and watered to spread the chemical in the ground surrounding the original burial before being filled in. A rather creepy job but I suppose that during the Depression the young men were grateful to have employment.

Around 1966, a prolonged drought resulted in Quabbin reservoir dropping to the lowest level since before it was filled to capacity in the late 1940's. I can recall seeing land that had not been exposed since the 1930's. Many of the original graves were visible as coffin-shaped depressions where the backfill had settled over the years.

Roy C. Gutfinski
Pittston, Maine

Mark T. Alamed said...


Glad you enjoyed the page! I thought it would be nice to try to gather up Quabbin links into one spot for convenient reading. As more pop up, I'll add them.


Thanks for adding your personal experience and insights!

I'm not sure if you've seen the Ed & Libby Klekowski documentary 'Under Quabbin,' but there is a segment where Ed Klekowski is diving in an old cemetery and there he find a number of headstones stacked neatly in a pile, still waiting to be transported to the new cemetery. Kind of eerie.

Again, thanks!