The Swift River Valley Historical Society is now open for the 2014 season, Wednesdays and Sundays from 1:30 to 4:30 pm (except Sunday, July 20th, closing at 3 pm for Dana Vespers). Informal tours of the Whitaker-Clary House and Prescott Church begin at approximately 1:30, 2:15, 3:00 and 3:45. The Carriage Shed, with a new introduction to the Quabbin Valley story and photography exhibit of early 20th century children doing farm chores and at play, is self-guided. See the Events page for a full list of upcoming events
For 75 years the Swift River Valley Historical Society in New Salem, Massachusetts, has kept alive the story of the villages and four “lost” towns of the Swift River Valley. In 1938 the people of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott several nearby villages 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