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Adventure into the Quabbin with the Swift River Valley Historical Society

  • The Quabbin overlook off Route 202 in New Salem. FILE PHOTO



Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

NEW SALEM — Looking to discover more about the remains left behind after four local towns were flooded to construct the 39 square mile Quabbin Reservoir?

Join the Swift River Valley Historical Society for its annual fall hike of the season Sunday, Sept. 16. Administrative Assistant Dot Frye said three tour guides will take visitors into North Prescott, an area she described as being “not accessible but with a lot to see.  

“There are remnants of the village itself there, and the sight of the old Pine Grove Cemetery,” she said. 

The guides will lead hikers throughout the area into the Quabbin so they can imagine what life was like before the flood.

“Our tour guides do a lot of research,” said Frye. “They have all of the pictures of the buildings before they were moved or knocked down or burned down — so you can visualize the house sitting there. They know the families and they know the stories.” 

The hike into North Prescott is just one of four hikes the historical society offers the public each year. Frye said at the beginning of each year the guides decide which hikes to schedule for the upcoming season.

“They have several ones in their routine,” she said. “The guides take an entire notebook with them of history and pictures, they do field work in between hikes and they go out and investigate places they haven’t been to yet. They call them their scouting trips.”

Those interested in hiking this weekend should meet at Gate 20 of the Quabbin Reservoir for an 11 a.m. departure. 

For individuals who’ve yet to venture into the society, including the Prescott Church Museum and Whitaker-Clary house, the last day the museum is open for the season is Sunday, Sept. 23. According to Frye, the archives, available for those interested in research, are available throughout the year by appointment.

Though the museum will close its doors at the end of September, two events are set for October: the Prescott and Enfield pilgrimage bus trip on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 11 a.m., and the second fall hike to a remote Pelham area Sunday, Oct. 21, at 11 a.m.

The society provides opportunities for local residents and those curious throughout Massachusetts to learn more about the four towns — Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott — that were flooded once construction of the Quabbin Reservoir began. 

“It is extremely important, because it is a museum of information and artifacts about towns that no longer exist — they were obliterated and are gone forever,” said Frye. “A lot of museums are still about towns, every town has a historical society, but the town is still alive. Our museum is for towns that are gone, wiped off the map.”


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