During the 1920s and 1930s, the populations of four towns in the Swift River Valley, Mass., were relocated to make way for completion of the Quabbin Reservoir. Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were formally disincorporated in 1938, marking an end to nearly a century of small town government in the region.
The annual reports of the four towns of the Quabbin region provide important documentation of the activities of the local officials and the lives of residents in Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott. Issued under various titles and with variable content, these reports include information on the activities of town officials, including the Selectmen, Overseers of the Poor, School Committee, and Library. In most years, the reports also include town expenditures and a list of residents with a valuation of property and taxes paid. Although substantial, this collection is not complete, particularly prior to 1880.
The collection is open for research.
In 1895, the General Court of Massachusetts established a Metropolitan Water District to provide ample water supplies for the growing metropolis of Boston by constructing two large reservoirs, the first along the Nashua River northeast of Worcester (the Wachusett Reservoir) and the second along the Swift River Valley.
Met with local resistance from the outset, the damming of the Swift River Valley required the disincorporation of four towns, Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott, and the alienation of land in several others. The greatest impact of the Quabbin Reservoir was borne by the residents of these relatively small, isolated, and predominantly rural towns, all of whom were forced to relocate. Construction of the Quabbin Reservoir began in 1926 and was completed ten years later, with formal dissolution of the towns following in 1938.
The annual reports of the four towns of the Quabbin region provide important documentation of the lives of the residents of the former towns Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott. Issued under various titles and with somewhat variable content, the annual reports include more or less detailed information of the activities of town officials and offices, including the Selectmen, Overseers of the Poor, the School Committee, and Town Library. In most years, the reports also document town expenditures and include a list of the residents with a valuation of property and taxes paid.
Published annual Reports for the Quabbin towns did not appear until 1857, when Enfield, the largest town, printed its first, followed by Prescott (1862), Dana (1869), and Greenwich (1873). Titles varied, sometimes dramatically, depending on which committees were reporting, and some committees occasionally issued separate reports (e.g., the School Committee for Enfield). While extensive, the SCUA collection is not complete and is much sparser in the early years of issuance of town reports.
Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, July 2013.
Nearly all of the annual reports for Quabbin towns have been digitized and made available online through the Internet Archive.
Cite as: Quabbin Towns Annual Reports Collection (MS 368). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.