The DCR Archives cares for and provides access to documents that tell the story of the MassParks System and the Metropolitan Water Works System of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Between 1866 and 2003, more than 30 major government agencies and divisions were created that evolved to form today’s Department of Conservation and Recreation DCR Predecessor Agencies. The mission of the DCR Archives is to identify, acquire, organize, preserve, and provide access to the cumulative body of archival records of all of these agencies. The DCR Archives is also a clearinghouse for the full historical range of the agency’s studies and reports.
To access more than 8,800 images of the Massachusetts Metropolitan Water Works (MWW) System dating between 1876 and 1926 (pre-Quabbin Reservoir), go to the Digital Commonwealth web portal. A comprehensive history of the MWW Photograph Collection is available below as a PDF; along with a PowerPoint summarizing the archival preservation of this collection.
To access more than 2,900 photographs documenting the 1927-1940s real estate takings in the Swift River valley to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir, and of general engineering of the Quabbin Reservoir, go to the Digital Commonwealth web portal.
To access 2,083 photographs and 26 plans documenting the cemeteries removed during the 1930s to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir, go to the Digital Commonwealth web portal.
To access 15 photographic portraits of the founders and commissioners of the 1893 Metropolitan Park Commission, go to the Digital Commonwealth web portal.
To access the Minutes of the following DCR legacy agencies, go to The Internet Archive.
- The Metropolitan Park Commission Preliminary Board (1892-1893);
- Metropolitan Park Commission (1893-1919);
- Charles River Basin Commission (1903-1910);
- Metropolitan District Commission (1919-2003);
- State Forest Commission (1914-1919);
- Board of the Department of Natural Resources (1953-1975);
- Board of the Department of Environmental Management (1975-2003); and,
- The Wachusett Mountain State Reservation Commission (1899-1967).
The DCR Archives has compiled an extensive "Guide to Related Archival Collections“ pdf format of Guide to Related Archival Collections file size 2MB ” that pertains to the history of DCR’s facilities, past and present.
The collections of the DCR Archives are open to the public by appointment only.
Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) Archives
DCR maintains a specialized collection of Massachusetts-related CCC materials including alumni artifacts, uniforms, equipment, maps, plans, photographs, printed documents, oral and video histories and staff memoirs. The collection was begun in 1974 by state parks staff, from parks and donors all across the Commonwealth with the purpose of preserving the CCC legacy.
The CCC archival collection is available to the public and DCR staff for research, exhibit development, interpretive programming, or information on CCC work projects, selected alumni, camps or companies.
Original documents, photographs, printed matter, maps, and plans are held within DCR’s Archives Storage Office. The DCR Archives accepts donations of original photographs, documents, printed matter, ephemera, and small objects pertaining to the CCC experience at any CCC Camp in Massachusetts. Digital scans of donated original photos will be provided to the donor in exchange for donating original photos.
CCC Archives Collection
The CCC Archives Collection is available for research by appointment only.