The Quabbin Reservoir--New Salem Overlook
Once (and for about 200 years) there were four lovely, small towns in North-Central Massachusetts. There nearly 3000 people lived, farmed, built small industries, attended school, worshiped in church, celebrated births and graduations and grieved over losing loved ones. In Dana, Greenwich, Prescott, and Enfield, families built their homes and lives together.
All of this came to an end in April, 1938 when the four towns were sacrificed–dismantled, torn apart, and flooded–in order to create the Quabbin Reservoir. This huge reservoir provides drinking water to the city of Boston and 40 other cities and towns in the Greater Boston region (among them are Arlington, Belmont, Brookline, Chelsea, Clinton, Everett, Framingham, Lexington, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Newton, Norwood, Quincy, Reading, Revere, Somerville, Stoneham, Waltham, Watertown, and Winthrop. It also provides water for Chicopee, Lynnfield Water District, Marblehead, Nahant, Saugus, Southborough, South Hadley, Weston, and Wilbraham).
It contains 412 billion gallons of water in an area of 38.6 square miles, but its watershed area is a full 185.9 square miles. It is 18 miles long, and its shoreline is 118 miles, in total. Its average depth is 51 feet, but it is 150 feet deep at its maximum depth.
In the past month, I have spent more time in the Quabbin—in parts of the Massachusetts towns of New Salem, Ware, and Belchertown–than in the previous 37 years I have lived here in Central Massachusetts. It is a lovely area–ideal for hiking, fishing, and other recreational activities. Yet, as I learn more about its origins, I realize that every time I visit, just as I am enchanted by its beauty, so too am I saddened–often beyond words–by the awesome and awful sacrifice that four towns made so that Boston and 40 other communities could have pure drinking water.
Nikon D90, focal length of 32 mm, f 7.1, ISO 250, cloudy WB
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