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The Quabbin Park Cemetery (QPC) was built as part of the Quabbin Reservoir project. It was developed between 1931 and 1932 by the Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission (MDWSC) to receive the remains of 6,601 graves removed from the Swift River Valley. Altogether, 7,613 graves were disinterred from thirty-four cemeteries scattered throughout eight towns. A majority of these were moved to the QPC, while some graves were relocated to cemeteries in other towns by choice of families. This site was developed on 82 acres of former farmland and woodland south of Route 9 in Ware on land outside of the Quabbin Reservoir watershed. Descendants are able to access their ancestors’ gravesites at this site which is easily reached and is outside of the flooded valley.
Prior to moving any graves, the MDWSC plotted and mapped all the known cemeteries on the 81,000 acres of land bought for the project. Photographs were taken of every gravestone and all data was recorded. Families with recorded deeds were contacted and asked where they wanted to have their ancestors’ remains reinterred. If the family chose Quabbin Park Cemetery the bodies were reburied by the MDWSC in new lots in the same position as their original lot layout. Residents were not charged for reburial at the new cemetery. If they chose to have family members reburied at other cemeteries, they were not charged for the transport, although they would have had to purchase burial lots there. Additionally, if a family owned unused burial lots at the former cemeteries they were entitled to lots in the new cemetery.
Along with graves, the MDWSC moved War Memorials and markers from the former Swift River valley towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott to the QPC. These monuments greet visitors as they enter the cemetery grounds. They have come to memorialize the four towns themselves and are an integral part of the Memorial Day Services at Quabbin Park Cemetery, held the Sunday before the observed Memorial Day holiday. In addition to honoring Veterans and those who lost their lives in service to our country, the ceremony also recognizes the sacrifices made by former residents of the Swift River Valley so that the Quabbin Reservoir could be built.
The entrance to Quabbin Park Cemetery on Route 9 is marked by two stone columns that include stones from the foundation of every church in the valley. Bronze plaques were also placed on these columns, listing the name of every cemetery removed for the reservoir project.
It is still an active cemetery, however purchase of burial lots is restricted to former residents of the four towns, their direct descendants, or employees and former employees of DCR.
Vital records for the four disincorporated towns are housed at the DCR Quabbin Administration Building in Belchertown. Additional information about the Quabbin Park Cemetery and the location of gravesites is available to the public on request through the Quabbin Visitor Center. The Center is located within the Administration Building which can be accessed through the Main (or West) Entrance, three miles west on Route 9 from the Quabbin Park Cemetery.
The following are prohibited except by prior written approval of the DCR Quabbin Regional Director:
Quabbin Park Cemetery Map - To find a particular lot, refer to the three or four digit location number which can be obtained from the Quabbin Visitor Center. The first one or two digits refer to the Section. The last two digits refer to the lot number within that Section (e.g., #545 would be Lot 45 within Section 5; #1473 would be Lot 73 within Section 14).
For more information, please contact:
Quabbin Visitors Center