THE GREENWICH GOLDMINE
Many people visit the Enfield Lookout. It is a popular spot for people who hope to see a Bald eagle or two and it's just a few hundred yards away from the lookout tower on Quabbin Mountain. The view is breathtaking but most people fail to notice the hole in the ground on the southeastern edge of the Prescott Peninsula. This area has been off limits to the public since the late 1930's. This hole, just above the shoreline, is all that remains of a goldmine that once existed in the doomed town of Greenwich.
The Barlow brothers had a farm in Greenwich. One day while working near a stream they found some particles of gold in the water. In their spare time the brothers began drilling into the granite ledge from which the stream originated. Near the surface they found gold bearing ore. The ore however was of poor quality and they set out to find richer ore nearby.
In the early 1930's they found another vein. This ore was of better quality and was worth between three and five dollars per ton. Gold was worth about twenty one dollars an ounce at the time. More drilling and blasting produced more ore but the work was backbreaking for the aging, diabetic brothers. The efforts of the brothers was reported in Springfield newspapers and some feared a stampede to the Swift River valley.
In 1933 the brothers found a new vein which contained copper along with gold. The impending repeal of prohibition gave them hope that the price of copper would rise since most still were made of copper.
The Barlow brothers sold their land to the Water Commission but rented it back in order to continue their fledgling mining effort and in late 1933 they struck a richer vein of gold. This vein, although of the highest quality to date for the brothers, was not the "mother lode" they were hoping for.
The brothers worked the mines until 1938 when the impending flooding forced them off the land. They went their separate ways moving to nearby towns. They never found the "mother lode," leaving only speculation of what riches might lie beneath the clear water.
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Check out J.R. Greene's wonderful book. " Strange Tales from the old Quabbin."