In April 1938, Swift River Valley residents held a farewell ball to mark the demise of the quintessential New England town of Enfield and its three smaller neighbors, Greenwich, Dana, and Prescott. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was sacrificing these towns to build the Quabbin, a massive reservoir of drinking water for residents of Boston. Three prominent residents attended the somber occasion. Marion Andrews Smith was the last surviving member of an important manufacturing family. Willard “Doc” Segur was the valley’s beloved country doctor and town leader. And Edwin Henry Howe was Enfield’s postmaster and general store proprietor. They helped build their beloved community for decades, only to watch grief-stricken as it was destroyed by 412 billion gallons of water. Author and historian Elena Palladino recounts the story of these communities as seen through the eyes of those who lived there until the end.
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