On April 28, 1938, four Swift River Valley towns -- Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott -- disappeared from the map.
Residents of those towns, now collectively known as the "Quabbin towns," had received eviction notices from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The booming population of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts in the 1920s and 1930s meant that a massive reservoir needed to be created to provide enough water for residents. The rural farming communities of Western Massachusetts were to be sacrificed for the sake of the businesses of the eastern part of the state.
By 1940, the farms, cemeteries, businesses, schools, livelihoods, and histories of the Quabbin families were buried under the 400 billion gallons of water of the Quabbin Reservoir. The episode is still a painful scar on the memory of Western Massachusetts, most of all to the families of the Quabbin and their descendants.
Who Should Be Added?
For the purposes of this project, we are interested in anyone who lived in one of the following towns at any point before 1940:
- Dana, Worcester County, Massachusetts
- Enfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts
- Greenwich, Hampshire County, Massachusetts
- Prescott, Hampshire County, Massachusetts
We are particularly interested in those who lived there at the time of the evictions, but there is no specific time requirement.
There are many fantastic resources about the Quabbin, its lost families, and its now-dwindling former residents.
Surprisingly, few comprehensive books have been published yet on the destruction of the Quabbin towns. The best so far is:
- Tougias, Michael. Quabbin: A History and Explorer's Guide. Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts: On Cape Publications, 2002.
Note: Many maps reproduced on-line still show where specific families lived.
A Note about Cemeteries
The promise of the Commonwealth was that all headstones, memorials, and other historical markers would be moved to the newly-created Quabbin Park Cemetery in Ware. In reality, divers have found hundreds of headstones at the bottom of the reservoir. This means that genealogists have to exercise particular caution when noting burial locations. Actual graves were never moved, and not all headstones were transferred (even when they were claimed to be).
About This Project
This project was started in May 2011 by J. Ashley Odell, a former Hampshire County resident with a deep love for the history of the Quabbin towns. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the Quabbin towns, feel free to contact her -- or, better yet, use the "Discussions" link at the upper-right of this page.