In the 1930s, the Massachusetts state legislature flooded four towns in Worcester and Hampshire counties, looking to alleviate metro Boston’s water shortage. The flood, created by damming three branches of the Swift River, formed the Quabbin Reservoir, and forced the residents of the towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott to relocate as their homes were submerged. The word Quabbin, formerly the name of a lake in Greenwich, comes from the name of a local, likely Nipmuc American Indian chief, Nani-Quaben, which means place of many waters or possibly well-watered place.
Today the Quabbin still supplies Eastern Massachusetts with drinking water, and the reservoir, located in Central-Western Massachusetts, is one of the largest human-constructed water supplies in the United States. Quabbin Mediation serves the former industrial cities and rural towns of the region, which are far from major highways and, sometimes, cell service and social services. This makes the Quabbin region, and particularly the North Quabbin, a haven for creative, unusual, and independent people—and a place rich in neighborly community spirit—connections to the land and each other. The beautiful woodlands around the Quabbin are a popular site for hiking, bird-watching, and other recreation.