Standing the edge of the Thomas Basin and along Massachusetts Route 140, stands a peculiar site. An old stone church, completely stripped of its interior and perched right next to the water. The church is not located near the town center and seems like an odd place to build a house of worship. But what many people may not realize is that this old church is all that remains of a once-thriving community that was demolished and drowned to create the Wachusett Reservoir.
Built in 1891 to replace a Baptist church that had been destroyed in a fire, the church was located on a small hill near an area of West Boylston located in a valley below. In 1896, construction of the Wachusett Reservoir began and the industrial and agricultural area of West Boylston was to be flooded. Over 1,700 residents were displaced and approximately four churches, eight schools, six mills, and acres of fruit farms were relocated to another area of West Boylston, which exists today.
The church held its final service in 1902 and the reservoir was completed in 1905. All the wooden structures in the town were removed and soon the remnants of old West Boylston were submerged by the flooding waters and disappeared into memory. However, the old church survived the flooding being on the top of a small hill, and was left standing as a reminder of the community that had been lost to provide more water to the city of Boston.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Because of its unique history and the scenic backdrop of the Wachusett Reservoir, the Old Stone Church is a popular place to visit. It is a great spot to take photos both of the scenery as well as portraits and there are spots for walking and fishing as well. Overall a very interesting location and if you ever visit, try to picture the buildings that once existed under the shimmering waters.
Know Before You Go
Because the Wachusett Reservoir is a public water supply, pets are unfortunately not allowed.