Remembrance of Towns Past

Five minutes into our hike, we arrive at the point where the original Route 21, which once connected Athol to Springfield, runs into the water. Ahead of us, the resonant blue and green panorama that is the Quabbin Reservoir stretches south for eighteen miles to Belchertown, where today’s Route 21 begins its journey down the Valley. Somewhere across the water, the old state highway hiking trail resurfaces beside the bike path that runs along the east side of the man-made lake, tracing the long-gone tracks of the railway. The four drowned towns of Enfield, Dana, Prescott, and Greenwich, of course, remain submerged at the bottom of the reservoir, as they have for the past seventy-five years.

“There’s a very romantic notion about the Quabbin,” J.R. Greene tells me, stading at the water’s edge as the waves lap at his feet. “But there’s no Atlantis down there.”

(Originally appeared in Preview Massachusetts.)

 

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