Quabbin Reservoir – Ware, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura
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Ware, Massachusetts

Quabbin Reservoir

The largest body of water in Massachusetts annihilated four small towns just to slake Boston's thirst. 

As the city of Boston grew in the early 1800’s they quickly ran into an increasing water shortage, so plans were put in place to flood the valley that would become the Quabbin Reservoir. The only problem was the four towns that called the valley home.  

The small towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were less than pleased when they learned that their lovely little valley was to be completely flooded. Enthusiastic Boston lawmakers however saw the plan as the only logical course and ordered each of the towns to be disincorporated, the buildings demolished, and the residents relocated. The citizens of the four effected towns fought the measure all the way to the Massachusetts Supreme Court but their pleas were struck down.

The state of Connecticut even tried to sue the state of Massachusetts for illegally diverting waters that were not theirs to hoard, but the thirst of the Bostonians could not be quenched by legal means. Starting in 1939 the waters of the Quabbin Reservoir (named after a hill in one of the former towns) slowly rose over seven years, and nearly every trace of the area’s former residents was drowned.

Today the man-made lake is a picturesque body of water that does nothing to belie the destruction it took to create it. The only reminders of the former towns are the occasional cellar hole that was never filled in, or more tellingly, roads that continue right into the water.