Maine artist Cynthia Smith illustrates...
A Swift River Anthology
In the 1930's the state of Massachusetts dammed the Swift River in the western part of the state to create the Quabbin Reservoir as a drinking water supply for the city of Boston. Homes, farms, businesses, and public buildings in the towns of Dana, Prescott, Enfield, Greenwich and parts of New Salem were taken by eminent domain to facilitate the inundation of the area. Buildings were either moved or demolished. The residents relocated as best they could, and the remains of over 6,500 souls were exhumed from town cemeteries and taken away to be reburied. Most were reinterred in the Quabbin Park Cemetery in Ware .
Maine artist Cynthia Smith has collaborated with playwright Dorothy Johnson of New Salem, Massachusetts to create a book which chronicles and illustrates the lives of 60 imaginary individuals who might have lived in the Swift River Valley some time between the 18th and 20th centuries. Johnson's word portraits and Smith's illustrations give life to a varied cast of characters...men, women and children, young and old, rich and poor. Each character's musing or reminiscence allows the reader into the character's own private and personal world...a world of emotions, dreams, successes and failures. You will hear truth in their voices and recognize people you know or have known - and yourself. It is based on a time and place in history, but speaks to everyman in every time.