In 1938 and the years leading up to it, 2500 people were forced to vacate their homes in the Swift River Valley towns of Greenwich, Dana, Enfield, and Prescott. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts had declared that the Valley lands in north central Massachusetts were needed to construct a great reservoir that would provide drinking water to Boston and its suburbs. The four towns were disincorporated. Homes, farms, churches, businesses, and all other buildings were burned or removed. Another 7500 people were disinterred from their ‘final’ resting places and moved to a new cemetery outside of the Valley. No one was allowed to remain, because the watershed must be devoid of human presence in order to ensure a pristine water supply for thirsty Boston.
The Swift River Valley Historical Society serves as the repository for photographs, records, and artifacts that remember the four lost towns and the sacrifices of those who were forever displaced to create the Quabbin reservoir.
Thanks to your generosity and the hard work of many volunteers, SRVHS is thriving. In 2016, thanks to special gifts from the families of Gweneth Drury Willard Coolidge Hill, Howard Seaver Willard, Jr. and Helen (“Honey”) Patterson and many other donors, SRVHS completed construction of and dedicated a ‘clean room’ that ensures the preservation of fragile papers, artwork, and other records that require climate-controlled storage. Last year, thanks to a work party from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Community Service Program, the Prescott Church Museum and the Whitaker-Clary house received beautiful new coats of paint. This year, we hope the crew will return to paint the barn.
But, they cannot paint and make much-needed repairs to the steeple on the Prescott Church. Because of the height of the steeple and the special challenges of restoring the structure, we need professional restoration that is estimated to require $25,000.00 which would also include replacement of one-half of the church roof.
Can we count on you for a donation toward this important work? Your contribution will help ensure that the buildings and grounds of the Swift River Valley Historical Society remain sound and in good repair, so that we can remind ourselves of the great sacrifices made by the Valley inhabitants. Future generations will remember this sacrifice because of your support and the good work of SRVHS. Please send your tax-deductible donation today.
Shelley Small, President Board of Directors
Jane Peirce, Treasurer Board of Directors