Don’t forget how Quabbin got there

This is my response to the following article: http://dailycollegian.com/2011/10/27/dam-controversy/

Dear editor,

Regarding the October 28th opinion piece entitled “Reserve time for the reservoir”,
the author mentions about half way through the article that the construction of the Quabbin Reservoir was steeped in controversy, but does not address the nature of the controversy until the third and fourth to last paragraphs, in which he cursorily acknowledges the fact that the construction of the reservoir required the disincorporation of four towns. This deserves more attention. The disincorporation of these towns was not merely some pleasant flurry of state documents and good intentions that “time has healed”; time does not heal the fact that the moment in history in question required an absurd abuse of Eminent Domain, or at least the underlying principle. In 1938, all of the inhabitants of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were forced to vacate their property so their towns could be flooded, because citizens in the Boston area ‘needed’ more water. The underlying reasoning was that majority interests trump individual rights to property etc, and therefore the ‘needs’ of Boston area citizens, who happened to number more than the people forced out of their homes, trump the individual rights of the property owners. The fundamental ideas involved were no different than those which led to the slaughter of millions of Russian peasants during the Soviet nationalization of farmlands; the latter was obviously more atrociously violent, but both cases were examples of the political implementation of altruism to the end of a ‘greater good’. Quabbin Reservoir is beautiful, but it should be not be forgotten that its construction required a blatant violation of rights.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t forget how Quabbin got there

  1. m cross says:

    excellent point; thank you.

  2. M. Gulinello says:

    Thank you for that. I’m beginning to do research on the history of the reservoir and could not believe the lack of info on what had to be an extremely controversial issue. Reminds me also of the West End neighborhood of Boston when people were forced out of their homes

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