For 75 years the Swift River Valley Historical Society in New Salem, Massachusetts, has kept alive the story of the four “lost towns” of the Swift River Valley. In 1938 the people of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were forced to leave their homes, farms and businesses to allow the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir to provide clean water for the growing city of Boston to the east. No more straw hats would be made here, no sledding parties, celebrations on the town common, or worship at the churches built by the early settlers. The lives of 2500 people and their descendants were forever changed by this event.
Their towns are lost, but their stories are not. By caring for the objects and reminiscences once owned or told by farmers, shopkeepers, housewives, and children, the Swift River Valley Historical Society provides a look at life in the Swift River Valley before the Quabbin—and honors the sacrifice and sorrow of the many who once called it home.
Photo Credit: Quabbin Reservoir, courtesy of Dale Monette, DCR Vistitor Center