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The Sinking Church
Photo by Cathy Bullock - 1997

 

The Sinking Church

The gray granite shell of an old church stands on a grass covered point jutting into the Wachusett Reservoir like a tombstone marking the homes, mills, schools and people who once lived where the dark waters of the Quabbin Reservoir now lie.

Legend has it that the pastor of the church founded the now submerged town West Boylston, incorporated in 1808,  flourished  through the 19th century as an industrial center, with cotton mills, a scythe factory and boot finishing shops.  In 1896, the Metropolitan  District Commission chose the site for Boston's water supply and the fate of West Boylston, was changed forever. In 1897, the MDC evicted 1,700 West Boylstonites who lived near the town's center and began razing 6 mills, 8 schools, 4 churches, one hotel and 360  homes to prepare for the 65 billion gallon reservoir.  The entire Beaman Graveyard was moved to the center of town.  Buildings, some still in use today  were dragged through the streets.

The Pastor gave the land to the Water Commission on the condition that the Church always remain standing on the original site.

The Church sits on a small strip of land jutting out into the reservoir alone and silent as it crumbles and sinks, By the 1970's the roof had fallen in, The walls were almost gone 

The end had come for the last trace of the town that was.

The old stone Baptist Church, built in 1892 and recently restored by the West Boylston Historical Commission is all of the old center that remains in its original place.   

Photo By

Cathy Bullock 1997

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