Formerly known as "Creepy-chusetts, Strange-chusetts".

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Vaughn house, Dana

Dana is one of the lost towns of the Quabbin Reservoir. Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were impounded in 1938 upon the completion of the reservoir. Today, the 39 mi² (100 km²) Quabbin Reservoir is still in use and the largest body of fresh water in Massachusetts.

After two-hour drive from Boston, I finally had a chance to witness the lost town of Dana. Incorporated in 1801, this little town had some 400 residents when it was planned to be submerged by the Quabbin Reservoir.

Did the entire town sink in the water? Not quite. The center of the town, Dana Common is still approachable by foot. But no one's living there anymore. Only the remain of cellar holes, crumbling walls, and a stone marker give you some clues about the lost town. 

The common is about two-mile from the trail parking lot. But oh boy, I won't recommend you to visit Dana during summer. TOO MANY FLIES!! When I saw a brown cloud of flies was chasing after B. on a bike, I remembered a story from a Quebecoise about a suicidal moose. Flies do drive a moose insane. Amazing.

Chased after by the swarm after swarm, retreat was the only way. So I introduce only a little piece of Dana: the remain of the Vaughn residence.

The Edger Vaughn's residence is in the heart of the common. Collected from the nearby stream, the distinctive stone retaining wall is  the only remain left to tell the story of the house.

The "Potato wall"; that was the first impression when I saw the retaining wall. To be specific, this is more like the "Russet Potato wall" rather than the "Golden Yukon wall". I have to tell you this is the single incidence of the decoration in the town; this could be a whim of Mr. Vaughn.

If Dana wasn't deserted, the Potato wall might have caught on among the Massachusetts vernacular architecture.

This is an uncompleted investigation. If you want to see more about the town, please refer to the following sources. There is a handful of strange stories related to the town, too.

Locate Dana @ Google Map

<General Information>
Quabin Reservoir, Mass dcr:

1889 map of Dana, Mytopo Historical Map:
The road less traveled, skinut:
Towns buried under the Quabbin Reservoir, Menotomy Maps:

<Photos, stories, etc.>
Dana Massachusetts:
Quabbin Gate 40: Dana Town Common, Exploring Western Massachusetts:


  1. More great images of a very cool place.

  2. Thanks Dave! Enjoy the Potato Wall!

  3. Those stones came from the Swift River, just to the southeast. Edgar's son Mike took a horse and a "stone boat" down to the river; and with the help of neighborhood boys (paid 5 cents), the rocks were loaded onto the stone boat and brought back up to be set into the wall (which was repaired in 2012-13).

    1. Thanks for the info.

      I like the sound of the "stone boat." I'm just having a fun imaging what boys talked about while helping the Vaughns!

  4. Wow! this is awesome! Amazing to see and learn about! - P. Vaughn

    1. Thanks! Visit there before bugs are up ;)