I've often heard children say, "There's nothing to do today". I beg to differ. I'd like to inspire you to do something. Anything. Read. Bake. Hike. Fish. Plant. Sail. Climb. Play. Reach. Move. Laugh. Dream; and take time to sit with me on The Old Granite Step.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Winter hike into Dana, Massachusetts; you won't find it on any current map.

Shortly before this week's snowstorm, which brought a foot of snow to the Quabbin region of Massachusetts, we hiked into Dana, Massachusetts.  Technically, Dana no longer exists.  Neither does Enfield, Prescott or Greenwich.  People in these four towns were forced to give up their homes so that residents of Boston could have a fresh supply of water. 

In 1926, construction began on an extension of the water system serving Boston and several surrounding towns.  In April of 1938, these four Massachusetts towns were dis-incorporated despite efforts of residents to fight plans for the new reservoir.  Thus, the Quabbin Reservoir was formed.  Cemeteries, town memorials and buildings were moved prior to the land being flooded.  Amazingly, a railroad was also altered.  Roads were closed.  The residents of these four historical towns were told they needed to move.  They had no choice. 

As a child growing up in Connecticut, we never learned about the Quabbin Reservoir in American History.  Yet, it is a key element in New England history.  If you're not on well water, have you ever stopped to wonder where your water really comes from?  The story of the Quabbin should be taught to every child when they are learning about natural resources.  When I moved to this area, I was embarrassed that I had never heard of it.  Some relatives of the displaced families are still bitter about it.  Others simply shrug and say "That's the way it had to be".  As you look at these photos, think of the people that were born here, married here, and died here.  If you happen to live in Boston, think of the sacrifices they made for you and say a simple "Thank you".

The road into Dana. 

The beauty of the area is everywhere.

The first small cellar hole we stumble upon.

The old orchard stands and waits.

The wildlife is all that remains.  It looks like something has made a home in this tree.

As we get to the center of town we begin to see signs that marked locations of former buildings.

Which farmer used to plow this field?

One of many foundations that has nothing to support any longer.

The front step at the church. 

This stone marks the site of Dana Common.

Look closely at this cobblestone foundation.  Did the stones come from the Swift River which ultimately led to the death of the town?

Imagine that this is all that's left of your home.

Honoring the men and women that Dana sent to war.

A simply beautiful building.  Standing in front of the cellar hole, you can only imagine the guests arriving here.

You can almost hear the ghosts of children laughing and playing.

We start to head back towards the car.  How did they feel when leaving their homes for the last time?

Perhaps a remnant of an old fence post.

The stone walls no longer keep anything in...or out.

The trees stand guard over this precious land.

Wildlife abounds here.

A reminder of who the land belongs to now.

The old maps of the area are fascinating.  Pay a visit to the Quabbin Visitor's Center.  It's really a wonderful lesson to share with your children.  The Quabbin Reservoir is beautiful, but don't forget about the cellar holes and foundations that lie beneath the water; all in the name of progress.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post and pictures. We also have a similar tale in the southern Adirondacks of Upstate NY. In 1930, many towns and villages along the Sacandaga River were obliterated when the valley was flooded to create the Great Sacandaga Lake. It saddens me to think of all the history lost by such an event. As much as I love sailing on the lake during the summer, I often wonder what lies beneath.