North Quabbin Notes, March 18

  • Rachel Gonzalez Rachel Gonzalez

  • Elena Palladino Elena Palladino

Published: 3/17/2023 3:42:58 PM
Modified: 3/17/2023 3:43:05 PM
Book presentation and signing by local author

ATHOL — Head to the Athol Public Library on March 22 at 6 p.m. for a presentation by local author Elena Palladino.

When Palladino moved into her new home in Ware in 2015, she learned of her house’s history and its original owner, Marion Andrews Smith. This would lead her to Enfield, one of the four towns lost in the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir, and the writing of her first book, “Lost Towns of the Swift River Valley: Drowned by the Quabbin.”

At the time of its completion in 1946, the Quabbin Reservoir was the largest man-made reservoir in the world and was heralded as an engineering marvel. Today, the reservoir quietly provides 412 billion gallons of high-quality water to more than three million people in Boston and its surrounding towns.

The story of the Quabbin is an important piece of Massachusetts history. Simply put, the reservoir exists because the towns do not. But what was the human cost of the Quabbin?

More than 2,000 people were forced to leave their lifelong homes. Their land, houses and businesses were taken, razed and burned. The bodies of 7,500 former residents were exhumed and reinterred. Families and communities were uprooted, their homeland flooded. And yet, the people of the Swift River Valley lived on; their shared histories, relationships, and communities endured beyond the valley, beyond 1938, and in spite of the pain and loss inflicted by the construction of the Quabbin.

“Lost Towns of the Swift River Valley: Drowned by the Quabbin” was published by History Press, a division of Arcadia Press, in the fall of 2022. Palladino’s website is and her Instagram is QuabbinHouse.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and Palladino will sign. The cost is $24 via cash, check, Venmo or Zelle.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Please call 978-249-9515 or visit to reserve a spot.

Learn about scams targeting the elderly

ATHOL — The free Lunch & Learn event will take place on Thursday, April 13, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 82 Freedom St., Athol. This event is free and will include a hot lunch catered by Real Meals with Linette. There will be a presentation on recognizing and preventing scams targeting senior citizens. RSVP required by Friday, April 7, by calling 978-249-8986.

Marshall named to Emmanuel College Dean’s List for Fall 2022

BOSTON — Sydney Marshall of Phillipston has made Emmanuel College’s Dean’s List for the Fall 2022 semester. To earn a spot on the Dean’s List, Emmanuel students must achieve a grade point average of 3.5 or higher for a 16-credit semester.

Emmanuel College is a co-educational, residential institution with a 17-acre campus in the heart of Boston’s educational, scientific, cultural and medical communities. Enrolling more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the College provides boundless opportunities for students to expand their worldview through rigorous coursework, significant internship and career opportunities throughout the Boston area and beyond, collaborations with distinguished and dedicated faculty, and participation in a dynamic campus community. Emmanuel’s more than 70 programs in the sciences, liberal arts, business, nursing, and education foster spirited discourse and substantive learning experiences that honor the College’s Catholic educational mission to educate the whole person and provide an ethical and relevant 21st-century education.

Spring classes at the Petersham Art Center

PETERSHAM — The Petersham Art Center classes are beginning for the springtime season. The center is a non-profit home for the arts in the North Quabbin region, offering students, artisans, and artists opportunities to explore educational classes, create exhibits, and offer unique, handmade treasures in the gift shop.

On Saturday, April 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Sue Morello of Sheldon Farm Baskets in Barre, will offer basket weaving instruction. Morello has created baskets for her own business, as well as teaching classes. Students will have a choice of styles to work with, bringing home their own handmade basket.

Rachel Gonzalez, of Rachel’s Everlasting Farm in Orange, will teach a class on Saturday, April 15, from 10 a.m.-noon, for making a spring dried flower and herbal swag. Gonzalez will offer flowers and herbs from her own garden to help create a delightful display.

Come and build a succulent and herb dish garden with Lynn Hartman, of Hartman’s Herb Farm, on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m.–noon. Hartman supplies all materials, including a terracotta pot, and shares all her gardening skills to make a perfect dish garden for patio or deck.

A unique experience is awaiting students in the class, “From Shearing to Weaving,” held on four Sundays—April 30, May 7, 14 and 28, from 1-3 p.m. Instructors are Deb Bachrach, who raises merino sheep, and Chris Eaton, formerly on the staff of Old Sturbridge Village. Students will first experience a sheep shearing demonstration at the Bachrach farm. They will then follow the wool all the way from raw material to handwoven project. In the following classes, participants will learn about cleaning, carding, dyeing, and spinning the wool into yarn. As the culminating experience, the class will be taught how to weave the yarn on handheld looms, to make their own wool creations.

More upcoming classes to be announced include a paint color mixing class with Elaine Griffith of Artis4every1 in Oakham and a flower sketching class with nature artist Gordon Morrison. More information will follow.

All classes have a cost, including a materials fee. Call Petersham Art Center at 978-724-3415 or email to for more information and to register. The Petersham Art Center is located at 8 North St., off Route 32, near the beautiful historic Petersham Common area.

Applications for Agricultural scholarships

PETERSHAM — Application forms for the Petersham Agricultural and the Ethan Clark Memorial Scholarships are now available at the Mahar and Quabbin Student Services departments. Applications are due on April 1.

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