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The information presented on this page was researched and written by third grade students.

Controversies

Boston's Need for Water

Clearing the Land

Relocating Houses

Cemeteries

Townspeople's Reaction

Farewell Ball

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of the Swift River Valley Historical Society

 


Boston’s Need for Water

  • In 1920, Boston’s population was 74,800
  • As the city of Boston grew, the need for water was greater
  • Bostonians were making lots of factories and polluting their water
  • The Merrimack River would always need treating and Lake Cochituate didn't have enough water for all of Boston
  • They chose the Swift River Valley because the southern end of the valley was a perfect place for dams to block the Swift River
  • This is an eviction letter
Letter courtesy of the Swift River Valley Historical Society

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Clearing The Land

Photo courtesy of the Swift River Valley Historical Society
  • Everything was taken down, all of the trees, buildings, houses, and schools
  • They moved some of the houses
  • The workers from Boston were called woodpeckers
  • Some trees were used for lumber, some were burned
Photo courtesy of the Swift River Valley Historical Society

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Cemeteries

  • Every gravesite within the Quabbin Reservoir Reservation had to be excavated
  • A total of 7,561 bodies were relocated
  • Quabbin Park Cemetery is located on Route 9 in Ware, not far from the Quabbin Visitor Center
  • Most of the bodies moved to places other than Quabbin Park were taken in the earlier days
  • Before removing a body, authorities first photographed each lot in the cemeteries
  • William Potter was in charge of the removal of bodies and was assisted by Clifton Moore
  • Many of the old graves were unmarked, and more than 500 nameless bodies were removed, some from Potter’s Field

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Relocating Homes

  • Town’s people didn't like it when they moved their houses because generations of people had lived in that one house
  • They didn't want to leave their house because all their belongings were in it and they could only bring a few things with them
  • Many had to find new houses that were never the same
  • They also didn't think that flooding their towns was fair
  • The houses had all the furniture, toys, beds and other things removed from the houses
  • Some houses were bulldozed down
  • Some were moved to different places by trucks
  • They put big timbers under the houses to move them
  • Others were razed or burned
  • 2,500 residents left their homes
  • 650 homes were removed
Photos courtesy of Swift River Valley Historical Society

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Townspeople's Reaction

  • The townspeople thought Boston should get water from the Merrimack or Charles Rivers
  • The townspeople didn't want to lose their homes, land, jobs, friends, and their communities
  • They also thought the Bostonians should conserve water before they were allowed to increase their supply
  • They were also worried because they knew that Boston was going to flood their towns
  • The townspeople had a lot to worry about because they also thought the Winsor Dam would give way
Photo courtesy of the Swift River Valley Historical Society

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The Farewell Ball

  • They had the Ball because their towns were going to be flooded the next morning
  • About 2,000 people attended the great Ball
  • The people were very sad their town would get flooded, but they were also happy about the Farewell Ball
  • The Ball was held in Enfield Town Hall to commemorate on April 27th 1938
  • They served Ritz crackers
  • Flyers for the Ball read:
  Come old timers, new comers and friends of all
for a last good time, whether you dance or not.
Tickets: Dance $1.00, Concert .50
Concert 8 to 8:30, McEnelly’s Orchestra – 10 piece.
Dancing 9 to 2. Lunch at midnight.
Electric effects by Cent. Mass. Elec. Co.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Program courtesy of the Swift River Valley Historical Society

 

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